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India vs New Zealand: Shreyas Iyer’s 103 Only The Third Century by an Indian No.4 in 89 ODIs Since February 2016
For the entirety of 2018 and 2019, the biggest bane for the Indian cricket team and team management in ODI cricket was about finding a stable No.4
When Shreyas Iyer notched up his maiden ODI hundred in first India vs New Zealand 1st ODI at Seddan Park, Hamilton on Wednesday, it was only the third time since February 2016 that an Indian No.4 reached the triple-figure mark.
For the entirety of 2018 and 2019, the biggest bane for the Indian cricket team and team management in ODI cricket was about finding a stable No.4 and even when they zeroed down and backed a few players, none could produce the desired results, which ultimately led to India going into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with a bit of worry at the crucial spot and as it would have it, that conundrum led to India crashing out of the event in the semi-finals at the hands of New Zealand.
However, after the World Cup, Iyer was backed for the No.4 spot and with a century at Hamilton batting at No.4, the Mumbai batsman has done nothing but good for him and the team management.
Iyer started his innings in a scratchy manner and by no means was it a chanceless innings -as NZ dropped him three times– but he capitalised on each of the reprieves and registered his first ODI hundred in only his 16th ODI.
Since February 2016, India tried out a plethora of players at No.4 namely – Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav in the 89 ODIs played by India during the period.
But, in those 89 matches, only three times did an Indian No.4 managed to register a 100-plus score.
In January 2017, Yuvraj Singh, in his last leg as an international cricketer made 150 against England at Cuttack and two years later, Rayudu managed exactly 100 against West Indies in Mumbai in October 2018.
After, after that, nearly 16 months later comes Iyer’s knock of 103 today.