Over the last few years, there has been a lot of drama surrounding the No. 4 position in India’s ODI side.
Players like Shreyas Iyer, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, and MS Dhoni were continuously rotated to find the perfect fit for the middle-order slots.
But the no. 4 batting position continued to be a spot of bother for India.
Rishabh Pant was given many chances, but failed to perform. On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer at no. 5, scored back-to-back half-centuries in the second and third ODI matches against West Indies.
Speaking exclusively to Times of India, re-appointed coach Ravi Shastri said Shreyas Iyer would be the obvious choice for No. 4 in ODIs.
“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 Shastri.
Iyer has cemented his place at no. 4, at least for the time being, thanks to his brilliant knocks of 71 and 65.
The right-hander had earned heaps of praise from skipper Virat Kohli.
“He understood the value of performing in these situations. The way he (Shreyas Iyer) batted out there, he took a lot of pressure off me. His knock was the game-changer. We want to have people take responsibility at different batting positions. But he certainly presented a strong case for himself. He completely played in full control and was putting pressure on the bowlers,” Kohli said.
The Indian captain also stated that Iyer was a ‘strong contender,’ and if he continued to play like this, he would become a ‘regular feature’ in the middle order.
Coming back to Shastri, he also added that the main aim was to try more and more young guns in the Indian limited-overs sides.
“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.”