It has been an ongoing issue for Team India to find a suitable batsman for the number 4 position. It also caused India’s exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 due to top-order collapse against New Zealand in the semi-finals.
Former Indian cricketer turned analyst Aakash Chopra feels that India’s No. 4 problem has been “a case of musical chairs.” Indian team management tested 13-14 players to bat at number 4, including Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Kedar Jadhav, and Rishabh Pant.
Aakash was speaking on Cricbuzz LIVE along with Harsha Bhogle and former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan. He said, “Correct, it’s been a case of musical chairs for us so far because I think since Yuvraj Singh exit, we had about 13 or 14 people who batted at No. 4.”
“That’s being the problem and its the problem of your own making, it’s not that suddenly you had no players,” Aakash added.
“Shreyas Iyer played against Sri Lanka, and I remember him doing well. He went to South Africa, didn’t play a game. It was Ajinkya Rahane who batted at no. 4 and who actually did all right and got dropped, and didn’t go to England. And, it just went all from there.
“Manish Pandey, he is even more curious case because that century came I think in Sydney that was 2016. So 2016, he scored a century, and in three and half years he had played only 18 games and not all the games at no. 4“, told Aakash.
Aakash agreed with Zaheer that Indian team management should try a player at No. 4 for at least 30 innings before they decide on replacing him.
“Just think about it, Yuvraj Singh scored that fantastic 80 against Australia in 2000 Champions Trophy and all that, and after that for 20 odd innings, he didn’t really set the world on fire. The same thing could be said about Virendra Sehwag as well, and Viru was actually batting higher up the order. You got Yuvraj Singh who was supposed to play that pivotal role in winning games. Somebody has the patience to stick with these two guys because they invested, they thought that these are match-winners and they were right. So Saurav Ganguly and the team management thought that these two guys would deliver eventually. So 30 innings, it may sound a lot at the moment, but you have got four years to build towards something“, he concluded.