The middle-order conundrum of India is well-talked about as many players were tried and tested to become a suitable number 4 for India that can provide solidity in the middle and use the long handle when needed. One year prior to the ICC World Cup 2019, Ambati Rayudu was given an extended run at the number 4 spot in ODIs and it seemed he will be the first choice to play after Virat Kohli but then he had a poor ODI series in Australia and wasn’t even on the plane to England as a part of the World Cup squad.
India lacked a consistent middle-order batsman in the World Cup and they had a big price to pay at the grandest stage when in the semi-finals the Indian batting got exposed against New Zealand and they were knocked out of the World Cup. Former India player and current cricket expert Aakash Chopra recently in a live chat with Cricfit editor Mikkhail Vaswani said that Shreyas Iyer has earned the right to bat at number 4 for India.
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When asked about the number 4 position he said: “It has to be Shreyas Iyer; he has done enough to get a longer rope.”
Since the World cup, Shreyas Iyer the flamboyant batsman from Mumbai has been trusted to bat at the second drop for India in limited-overs cricket. In his very first assignment in West Indies, Iyer impressed everyone with his ability with the bat and stroked two fine half-centuries and helped India win the series.
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The 2020 New Zealand ODI series for India did not go their way as they lost 3-0 but one of the positives from that series was the sublime form of Shreyas Iyer. The right-handed batsman not only scored his maiden ton but was also the leading run-scorer for either team in the series. Iyer in the 3 innings in the series made a total of 217 runs at an outstanding average of 72.33 at a strike rate of 95.59.
Iyer looked at ease throughout the tour of New Zealand and was the biggest positive for team India as he ensured that even after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma there is someone who can score runs consistently. The 25-year-old has well and truly cemented his place at the crucial number 4 slot for India and will look to continue his rich vein of form in the future matches.