Ahead of the Asia Cup and ODI World Cup, the middle order has become a headache for the Indian team management. Six players are contenders for number four and five, but the problem still remains due to the fitness of Rahul and Shreyas.
There is not much time left for the upcoming Asia Cup and ODI World Cup to begin but the middle order has become a cause of concern for the Indian team management. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma also admitted that the number four spot is an issue. Rohit said, 'The number four position in the batting order has been an issue for a long time. After the retirement of Yuvraj Singh, no other player has been able to secure his place at this number, but Shreyas Iyer has been batting at number four for some time now and he has also done well.
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He said, 'Unfortunately due to injury, Shreyas was in trouble. He has been out for a while due to injuries and this has been happening for the last four-five years. Many of these players got injured and in such a situation the new player had to come down to bat at that place. Although Shreyas Iyer has been successful in the present time. He has scored 805 runs in 20 matches at number four, scoring two centuries and five half-centuries.
Shreyas Iyer had done well for India at No.4 and Lokesh Rahul at No.5 in ODIs ahead of IPL 2023, but both of them have been injured and it is important for both of them to play matches and get in form before the World Cup. Failing which, the team management is looking for alternatives. If these two are not fit, Ishaan Kishan can be tried in the middle order. Tilak Verma can also be included as a surprise pack. Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav are also contenders for a place in the middle order.
Suryakumar and Sanju Samson are being tried at number four in Asia Cup and World Cup, but these experiments were successful. Suryakumar himself has admitted that his performance has been poor in the ODI format itself. Suryakumar has managed only 30 runs in this format at number four with figures of 13, 9, 8, 0, 0. Whereas, Sanju has played only one match at this venue. He scored 51 runs against the West Indies at this venue in this format and he has played at the sixth position, the highest in this format.
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Ishan Kishan and Tilak Verma at number four position can solve the mystery of this position considering the current situation. Although Ishaan is an opener, he has played six times in ODIs at number four and scored 106 runs including a half-century. At the same time, Tilak has not played in ODIs, but in the T20 series against West Indies, he showed his talent by playing quick innings of 39, 51, 49* at number four. Ravichandran Ashwin has spoken to give a chance to former selector MSK Prasad Tilak. However, the special thing with both the batsmen is that both are left-handed batsmen and barring Ravindra Jadeja in the current team, there is no other left-handed batsman in the team.
Rohit said, 'Many players got injured in the last four-five years. When a player gets injured or is not available for selection, then you try to try different things with different players. That's really what I want to say for the number four spot in the batting order. Even when I was not the captain, I was looking at it. Many players have come and gone. Either he got injured or he was not available for selection or someone had lost his form. KL Rahul and Iyer, who have been India's priority as wicket-keeper batsmen, are gearing up for a comeback and Rohit said it will have to wait and see how these two players perform. He said, 'No one's place in the team is confirmed, mine is also not there. Some players know they are going to play. In the three ODIs against the West Indies, we got a chance to try a few players. We have to face good teams in the Asia Cup as well. There is a meeting of the selection committee in the next few days and there will be a good discussion on what we can do. We have many names. We will see what a good combination can be for the World Cup and the Asia Cup before that.