Multiple world tournaments have come and gone; things have changed drastically in world cricket over the last four years. However, there is one problem that doesn’t seem to have a solution. There can be a movie made out of it or there may be fables written about it. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for India’s No. 4 woes.
India have tried as many as 13 players at that spot, including four of them in the recently concluded World Cup. KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant were the four players who batted at the coveted two-down spot in the World Cup. While Pandya was the floater, Rahul was shifted to open the batting after Shikhar Dhawan’s injury. Shankar injured himself mid-way through as well while Pant finished the tournament with four games at that spot. However, none inspired any sort of confidence.
At the start of this ODI series against the West Indies and with the inclusion of Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, they were expected to compete for the No. 4 spot. The former was picked in the first ODI but rain played spoilsport and the speculation continued. But it was expected that Iyer would walk out to bat at 4. However, when asked about the much-talked and hyped No. 4 spot at the toss in the second ODI, Virat Kohli voted for Pant.
He said that the Delhi stumper would bat at 4 and Iyer at 5. In fact, he added that the No. 4 and 5 positions are floating positions unlike the top three and numbers 6 and 7. “Four and five are more like floating batting position for us, according to the situation of the game anyone can bat anywhere. For me, top-3 and probably 6 and 7 are specialist batting positions than four and five,” Kohli was quoted saying during the toss.
Rishabh Pant falls for a scratchy 20 at No. 4
Rishabh Pant has been long touted as MS Dhoni’s successor in white-ball cricket. However, the 21-year-old has blown hot and cold in his short international career so far. He has been criticised for his shot selection on multiple occasions.
In the second ODI in Port of Spain (Trinidad), Pant walked out to bat with India’s score 76/2 in the 16th over. Kohli was batting really well at the other end. However, Pant scratched around quite a bit. He didn’t really get going as he could score 20 off 35 balls before he played all around a straight ball to be bowled.