Virat Kohli or Suresh Raina? Wasim Akram, Dale Steyn & other experts pick ideal No 3 batter of IPL

The debate over the ideal number three batter in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a topic of discussion among cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Two stalwarts, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, have carved their names in the annals of IPL history with their exceptional performances for their respective franchises. Both players have left an indelible mark while batting at number three in the cash-rich league.

Virat Kohli’s Impact

The former skipper of RCB, Kohli’s influence at the number three position has been profound. With an astounding 7263 runs in 237 matches, Kohli’s consistency and ability to anchor the innings have been instrumental in RCB’s campaigns over the years.

Suresh Raina’s legacy

On the other hand, Raina’s journey has been nothing short of legendary. With 5528 runs in 205 games, Raina’s impact as a middle-order dynamo for CSK transcended statistics. His aggressive yet composed batting style, especially against spin bowling, has been pivotal in CSK’s success.

Legendary cricketers and analysts have weighed in on the debate, offering their perspectives on the best number three batter in the IPL between Kohli and Raina.

Wasim Akram names his pick

Legendary cricketer Wasim Akram weighed in on the debate, citing Raina’s impressive numbers as a middle-order batter in the IPL. However, Akram ultimately favored Kohli for the number three spot, emphasizing Kohli’s ability to not only anchor the innings but also finish games when required.

“Raina’s numbers I’ve been looking at; he’s the most successful middle-order batter in IPL history. But if I have to pick number three for me, it’s got to be Virat Kohli. Rana can bat at four and five because he can end up as a finisher for you as well,” said Akram on Star Sports.

Dale Steyn’s preference

Former South African cricketer Dale Steyn shared his perspective, indicating a preference for Kohli at number three in the batting order. Steyn acknowledged the versatility of Raina but hinted at slotting him slightly lower down the order.

“I’ve got Virat at 3, and then I got someone like Raina just maybe a little bit later down the order,” said Steyn.

Also READ: South African legend Dale Steyn reveals his all-time incredible IPL XI; Ab de Villiers, Virat Kohli occupy spots in the lineup

Insights from Tom Moody and Matthew Hayden

Cricketing stalwarts such as Tom Moody and Matthew Hayden also weighed in on the debate, highlighting the strengths of both Kohli and Raina. Moody emphasized Raina’s proficiency against spin bowling while Hayden lauded Kohli’s exceptional ability to chase down runs, ultimately favoring Kohli for the crucial number three position.

“For me, he’s not a number three, but he’s definitely in my top six, and Suresh Raina is one of the best players of spin. Having that left-hander in your middle order is absolutely crucial. I’ve got Kohli at four for all the reasons that have already been stated,” said Moody.

“It’s a choice between the greatest Indian batter of all time versus one of the greatest IPL players, and that’s what we’re deciding. What I really love about Virat Kohli is his ability to chase down runs, so number three for me is just lock him in,” said Hayden.

Also READ: Wasim Akram, Dale Steyn and other icons pick their captain for the all-time greatest IPL team

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