Team India is facing a big problem of finding the perfect batsman to fulfill that no.4 spot in the limited overs batting lineup.
India has tried many candidates in the last year and a half, and most of them have shined for an innings or two. For the team, finding that no.4 batsman is crucial with the 2019 World Cup approaching.
Team India is looking for someone who can be consistent at that position, because of the responsibility a no.4 batsman carries. He has to counter both spin and quick bowlers and has to keep the scoreboard ticking no matter what.
With India trying both new blood and old hands at the no.4 position, we have chosen the top 5 candidates from the mix, who we think can be given a long rope to succeed at the position.
Here are the top 5 candidates for the no.4 position in Indian team batting order:
Shreyas Iyer finally made his long-awaited debut for the Indian team. Iyer batted at no.3 in his debut series against Sri Lanka recently in absence of Virat Kohli and scored 88 and 65 in the second and third ODIs respectively and showed that he has the potential to do well at the no.4 spot too, given his abilities.
Iyer has the ability to play both big shots and keep the scorecard ticking against both spinners and quick bowlers. He has shown that he can regulate the flow of the innings easily, even when he is batting with the seniors.
Iyer is definitely someone for the future, in which the Indian team management should invest in for the long run.
Ajinkya Rahane was stuck with the tag of the reserve opener in the limited overs format. However, he rightfully got to play in the middle order, which is his strength, against South Africa recently and he showed how good he is.
Rahane was not favored in the team, as former captain MS Dhoni has said that Rahane finds it difficult to rotate strike on Indian pitches against spin in the middle order and hence, Rahane was relegated to playing the role of reserve opener for some time.
Ajinkya Rahane has now been given a run at the no.4 spot and he showed that he can rotate the strike well against both the pace and spin on pitches that offer something to him.
If Rahane can work on raising his strike rate which currently stands at 79.02 to close to 90; it would make him an ideal candidate for the no.4 position in the Indian team in the current limited-overs scenario.
Dinesh Karthik got another lifeline in the limited overs at no.4 against Sri Lanka recently. Karthik used to be the no.4 batsman in the year 2010 when he got a long run at the spot and scored few runs. Karthik has the penchant for scoring runs at a quick pace and if needed, can grind it out in the middle.
Karthik can take the bowling on and is adept at playing both quick and spin bowlers equally well. He is also a brilliant backup to MS Dhoni as the wicketkeeper in limited overs game. Karthik should be given a decent run at the no.4 position in upcoming series to give him a chance to cement his place.
Manish Pandey started off brilliantly with an ODI century against Australia in Australia. Since then, he has been given chances at the no.4 spot, but he has been unable to nail his place in the team; thanks to his penchant for theatrics with the bat.
An aggressive player by nature, Pandey tends to become obsessed with dominating the bowler and loses his wicket at the worst possible moment in the match. If he can curb his instinct to go after the bowling and play according to the situation of the match, Pandey can make the no.4 place his own, as he has the ability to rotate the strike and hit big shots when necessary.
After being out of the international cricket for over a year, Raina was called back into the Indian team for the upcoming T20I series against South Africa in South Africa. Raina battled both form and fitness in order to make a comeback into the Indian team.
Raina was one of the best finishers for India and was often touted as the heir to MS Dhoni’s spot in the game. However, he has shown the talent to bat higher than his no.5 or no.6 spot in the batting order. Raina is perhaps the only Indian batsman who has the ability to start hitting big from ball one and is adept at playing both fast and spin bowlers equally well.
With him back into the Indian team, we can look forward to Raina batting at no.4 to give stability to the Indian batting lineup.