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09 Nov 2017

The Indian batting order's number 4 conundrum

Indian team's quest for a reliable number-4 batsman

Indian cricket team is on a roll winning back-to-back series with the latest coming against New Zealand.

Yet, the one puzzle that remains unresolved is the search for an ideal number 4 batsman.

Since 2015 World Cup, Indian team has tried as many as 11 batsmen for this spot, the most by any team.

Let's look at the possible candidates who can fit in.

In context

Indian team's quest for a reliable number-4 batsman
Yuvraj, the veteran who still has it in him


Yuvraj, the veteran who still has it in him

Of all the batsmen, who have played at number 4 since 2015 World Cup, Yuvraj has played the most innings.

He has played 108 times at number 4 in his career, scoring 3415 runs at an average of 35.20. He scored 6 centuries and 17 half-centuries as a number 4 batsman.

While experience and numbers are in his favour, age is against him.

Versatile batsman

Why is Rahane being ignored?

Ajinkya Rahane is a versatile player who can bat anywhere.

The 'opener' has played 20 of his 82 ODI innings as a number 4 batsman, scoring 703 runs at an average of 37.

While he has an overall strike rate of 78.71, it goes up-to 85.21 while batting at this position.

With ODI opening order settled, Rahane is a great number 4 option.

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Manish Pandey and KL Rahul

Unrealized potential?

Manish Pandey and KL Rahul

In the number 4 merry-go-round, Manish Pandey while being given ample chances, hasn't been a great success.

Pandey batted as a number 4 player in 7 of his 16 ODI innings scoring 183 runs.

KL Rahul is someone who hasn't found a place in the Indian team with the opening slots sorted. He is someone who can work as a good number 4 batsman.

Raina and Karthik

Special Mentions

Suresh Raina averages 45 with 675 runs, in the 18 innings he has played at number 4 position. With his last ODI in Oct 2015, Raina awaiting for an opportunity to redeem himself, is as an option for the unstable middle order.

Dinesh Karthik is another player with the right temperament to hold the middle-order together. We might see him playing more matches.

Dhoni as number 4 ?

MS Dhoni is someone who can bat higher up the order from his regular number 6/7. He does have 1223 runs from 26 innings batting at number 4 after all.

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