By Akarsh HP
The last ODI series, for India, before the World Cup, ended a
India’s long standing problem of No.4, which they hoped to fix in the by-gone series, continued to haunt them.
Since the 2015 World Cup, India has tested more than 10 batsmen at the No. 4 position including Virat Kohli. Let’s look at the stats of some of these players who have played at the position for at least six innings.
Let’s begin with Ambati Rayudu. Since coming back to the team, he has been the selectors’
MS Dhoni too has been tested at the fourth position having played 12 innings and scoring 448 runs. With an average and a strike rate of 40.72 and 76.84 respectively, MSD is a serious contender and an option which could yield fruitful results for the team.
Another player who has been on this exercise is the almost forgotten, Ajinkya Rahane. I must admit that I have not been able to understand his career. From being regarded as the rightful successor of Rahul Dravid to not being in the probable list for the World Cup of many analysts, it’s been one rocky career.
Having scored 420 runs with 46.66 average and 92.71 strike rate in 10 innings, he, at least for me, should be one of the strong contenders for the position. Dinesh Karthik is yet another exciting player on this list. I remember watching him first at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in a Ranji trophy match and since then I have loved his game and also his resilience. Time and again he has proved himself in the domestic circuit and kept knocking the team’s door.
With that knock against Bangladesh, he has managed to tell the world that he can be an explosive batsman too.
DK has scored 264 runs in 9 innings at an average of 52.80 with a strike rate of 71.35. After the India Australia series, we can safely say that he might be a better wicket-keeper than Rishab Pant and this might as well make the difference for him when that final list is announced.
Another player who is not forgotten and was also the man of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup is Yuvraj Singh. With the limited opportunities provided, he has managed to score 358 runs in 9 innings (including a century) at an average of 44.75 with a strike rate of 97.54. You cannot write this man off. He still remains one of the best left hander India has ever produced. It would be really interesting to see if he gets a call back because a man who has fought cancer can fight anything.
Apart from these, there are few other players who can be an option at no.4. They are – Vijay Shankar, Rishab Pant and Manish Pandey. However the stats of these players aren’t enough to judge them at this position.
Whether the selectors will go by these stats or will they go by the current form of the players is something we have to wait and see. Can IPL have a say in the selection? It will be a really interesting month ahead.