05 Feb 2020
Has Shreyas Iyer solved India's number four woes?
Shreyas Iyer is deemed India's mainstay for the much dodgy batting slot following the painful World Cup exit.
The Mumbai batsman has been reaping dividends after the investment made on him by the Indian team management.
With terrific performances in the limited overs format against West Indies, Australia and New Zealand of late, Iyer is proving his mettle as a solid middle order batsman.
The No.4 dilemma
India were short of options post Yuvraj's exit
The Men in Blue had to fill a huge void with Yuvraj Singh's departure in 2017, which emanated a stint of hit and trial structure.
The likes of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant were tried, but none worked.
The selectors finally placed their bet on Ambati Rayudu only to drop him from the World Cup squad later.
Iyer makes a strong case here
While Shreyas grabbed eyeballs with consecutive ODI fifties against West Indies, he could only score 16* and 5 in the South Africa T20I series.
Despite his technique being under the scanner against the Aussies, Iyer bounced back with an unbeaten 44 in the decider.
Besides, he staked claim with a splendid 27-ball 54 in a crucial run-chase against New Zealand.
IPL made all the difference
Although Shreyas was always on song in the domestic circuit, a captaincy stint with the Delhi Capitals made the difference.
Under him, the Delhi-based franchise qualified for the IPL playoffs in 2019 for the first time since 2012.
This successful run inspired the required confidence which helped him score at a strike-rate of 126.96.
Legends heaping praise
Iyer was backed by Sunil Gavaskar
Veteran batsman Sunil Gavaskar believes Iyer is better than any other batsman for the position.
"I think, if this doesn't help him get a more permanent slot in the Indian middle-order, I don't know what will," Gavaskar had stated.
Rohit Sharma also feels the same about him.
"Shreyas knows that he will now bat at No.4 for years to come," he said.
A blessing in disguise ahead of the ICC World T20
Iyer's composure coupled with belligerence sets the right tone in the batting order for India's upcoming World T20 campaign.
With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli standing tall in the top order, he could both play the role of a second fiddle as well as of a finisher, given his hitting prowess.
Iyer slams a century in the first ODI against NZ
It has been a long while since a number four of the Indian batting line-up scored a century.
On Wednesday, Iyer delivered a solid performance against New Zealand in the first ODI of the three-match series.
The Mumbaikar hit a 107-ball 103 and gave India the base after two wickets had fallen.
He shared two century-plus stands alongside Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.