As the Indian cricket team heads into a busy period of ODI cricket, with the Asia Cup and World Cup on the horizon, an unsettled middle order remains the team’s biggest issue. In the middle-order, there remains a big dilemma over who the ideal No. 4 batter could be. While Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have been playing at the position for a while, their long-term injuries prompted the team management to test the multiple options at the spot. For the Asia Cup, even the uncapped Tilak Varma was roped in, following the promise he showed in the T20I series against West Indies.
As the No. 4 spot arguably remains India’s most problematic position in the batting unit, stats reveal what steps the team management took to address the problem.
Since the conclusion of the 2019 ODI World Cup, India have tried a total of 12 players at the No. 4 spot. The combined average the batters at this position have been able to produce is just 33.5 In terms of the batters from No. 3 to No. 7, it’s the No. 4 batters who have scored the least.
Among the options, Shreyas Iyer has scored 805 runs while batting at number 4 for India since 2019 ICC World Cup. However, he is returning to international cricket after an injury. Another option for the number 4 spot is Surya Kumar Yadav but he has scored 30 runs in 5 innings at the number 4 spot. Furthermore, Suryakumar Yadav in ODI has not been impressive. He is averaging 24.3 in ODI and has scored 511 runs in 24 innings.
KL Rahul’s Concerning Fitness
KL Rahul is India’s leading run-scorer while batting in the middle order since the 2019 ICC World Cup. However, he is also coming after an injury and will miss out first few matches of the Asia Cup with a niggle meaning Ishan Kishan will keep wickets for India.
Ishan Kishan has scored 106 runs in 6 innings in the middle order. But Ishan Kishan was used as an opener in the recent ODI series vs WI when India had the option to try him in the middle order.
Tilak Varma has made it to the Asia Cup squad after an impressive T20I series against WI and an impressive IPL season.
But he has no experience while batting in the middle order in ODI and being called up to the squad before the World Cup ahead of the likes of Sanju Samson who has been named as the reserve player is shocking.
The No. 4 Opportunity:
There are various opportunities for players at number 4 to seal their spot for the World Cup 2023 with an impressive Asia Cup. Shreyas Iyer who has been India’s best number 4 since the 2019 ICC CWC will look to cement his place in the playing XI However, if Iyer is not fit enough and if he fails at the number 4 spot then we might see players like Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma given a chance at this spot.
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