India’s search for the number-four batsman has been going on for a long time. The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik and even Vijay Shankar were tried out, but none was persisted with. The same issue also turned out to be a hurdle for Ravi Shastri when the Kapil Dev-led Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) interviewed him for the role of the next Team India coach.
Shastri eventually managed to make the cut, edging out Mike Hesson and Tom Moody. In the meantime, Shastri, also a former Indian cricketer, seemed to have put an end to the number four conundrum, naming Shreyas Iyer, who recently made his comeback into the national team in the ODIs versus the Windies.
“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,” Ravi Shastri was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.
Iyer impressed in the series with scores of 71 and 65 in the last two ODIs. Interestingly, he batted at number five even as Rishabh Pant was entrusted to bat at four. Pant failed to grab the chances with a couple of low scores, which definitely haven’t helped his cause.
Words of praises from Virat Kohli as well
Earlier Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, also lauded Iyer for keeping a calm head in pressure situations. In both the games where Iyer got the chances, he shared useful stands with captain Kohli that pulled the Men in Blue out of the pits. India ended with a 2-0 victory in the series.
“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 after India’s six-wicket victory in the third ODI at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain Trinidad.
Shastri also went on to suggest that a number of youngsters will be tried out in limited-overs cricket in the near future. He is set to be at the helm until the 2021 T20 World Cup in India. In 2017, he became the India head coach for the first time after Anil Kumble resigned from his position.
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