EDICRIC | Cricket | Who Fits the No.4 Slot for India’s Upcoming ODI World Cup?
Who Fits the No.4 Slot for India’s Upcoming ODI World Cup?
A recurring enigma has plagued the Indian cricket team for the past few years – the elusive No.4 slot. Since the departure of Yuvraj Singh from the international cricket scene, the search for a proficient batter to occupy this pivotal position has remained futile. This quandary has intensified with the impending ODI World Cup on the horizon, leaving India still in pursuit of a dependable No.4.
The No.4 position holds a pivotal role in the realm of ODIs, demanding adaptability to diverse scenarios and seamless gear shifting. Whether anchoring the innings in the face of a wobbly top order or igniting an acceleration with a solid platform, the occupant of this slot must epitomize versatility, flexibility, and a knack for finishing innings with flair.
Recent times have witnessed India experimenting with various contenders for the coveted No.4 role, yet none have managed to establish consistent or convincing performances. Here’s an overview of the prospective candidates and their track records: Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav.
Undoubtedly the most successful No.4 for India in recent years, Iyer boasts an impressive tally of 805 runs in 20 matches, averaging 47.35, and striking at 98.76. His record features two centuries and five half-centuries in this position. However, his hiatus since February 2021 due to shoulder surgery raises queries about his current form and fitness, necessitating a litmus test before the ODI World Cup.
A strong candidate for the No.4 spot, Rahul has demonstrated his prowess in 7 matches, amassing 241 runs at an impressive average of 40.17 and a strike rate of 80.87. Two centuries and three fifties embellish his record in this role. Though he has excelled as a wicketkeeper-batter at No.5 recently, a comeback post-appendectomy awaits evaluation.
Possessing the flair for aggressive batting and substantial scores, Samson showcased his potential at No.3 and No.4 against West Indies, notching 46 and 24 respectively. Yet, his international career’s inconsistency, temperamental concerns, and shot selection uncertainties mar his claim. Intense competition from wicketkeeper-batters like Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan further complicates his candidacy.
A belated sensation, Yadav’s audacious stroke play and inventive batting have dazzled audiences. In the recent T20I series against West Indies, he notched 57*, 32, and 17 at No.5 and No.6. However, his untested mettle in the 50-over format and the need to enhance his consistency and conversion rate present challenges on his path to solidifying his place.
The quandary of India’s No.4 slot persists, with the upcoming ODI World Cup looming large. While contenders like Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, and Suryakumar Yadav exhibit promise, their form, fitness, and performance consistency will play a pivotal role in determining who ultimately claims this coveted position.