Amidst all the drama and concern in Indian cricket about the middle-order woes, head coach Ravi Shastri has revealed the name of the batsman who seems to have cemented his position at number four. Right after his reappointment as the head coach, Shastri has named Shreyas Iyer as the permanent number four for India in the upcoming ODIs.
The Virat Kohli-led side have been going through a rough phase in terms of the middle-order. No batsmen were able to hold on to their spot in the middle. During the World Cup KL Rahul showed promise initially at number four but owing to Shikhar Dhawan’s injury he was promoted to open the innings. Prior to that players like Shreyas Iyer, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were constantly rotated to find the perfect choice for the middle-order positions.
However, more than any other slot it was the number four position that acted as the major concern for the team management and became the biggest talking point among many. Rishab Pant was tried at the position during the later stages of the World Cup and also in three-match ODI series against West Indies but the keeper-batsman has failed miserably. Shreyas Iyer, on the other hand, performed brilliantly at five in the recently-concluded ODI series with two back to back half-centuries.
Speaking exclusively to a leading daily, Shastri finally revealed that Iyer has cemented his place at second down for the time being. “One of the areas we concentrated on over the last two years was to blood as many youngsters as possible. Shreyas Iyer, for instance, he is going to stay at No. 4,” said the 57-year-old former Indian cricketer.
The former cricketer also praised the other youngsters in the squad and cited the importance of the bench strength to prepare Indian cricket for long term goals. “Bench strength is everything if we’re looking at things from a long-term perspective. That constant flow of fresh, young talent has to be there. Be it Rishabh or Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep, Hardik, Mayank, Shankar – they’re there, constantly raising their hands up. That kind of a pool does wonders when the only objective is to ensure you don’t end up with, let’s say, any kind of deadwood,”