India’s batting lineup has been a source of strength throughout the ongoing World Cup. Skipper Rohit Sharma has consistently set the tone with his aggressive displays, while Shubman Gill has provided solid support at the top. When needed, talisman batter Virat Kohli has stepped up to showcase his world-class talent.
However, there was a nagging concern in the batting order – the No.4 position. With Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul already competing for the wicket-keeping duties, and the absence of Rishabh Pant’s explosiveness, the responsibility often fell on Shreyas Iyer.
Iyer’s World Cup campaign started on a rough note, with a duck against five-time champions Australia. His subsequent performances were also underwhelming, with one undefeated fifty against Pakistan being the only highlight. A string of disappointing innings led to calls for his replacement, with critics pointing to his struggles against the short ball.
Despite the mounting pressure, head coach Rahul Dravid maintained his faith in the youngster, and Iyer spectacularly repaid that trust. Over the next three matches, Iyer went on a rampage, scoring two half-centuries and an undefeated 128* off 94 balls in India’s final group stage match against Netherlands, firmly establishing his place in the team.
Shreyas Iyer climbs 17 spot and now he moves to No.18 position in the ICC ODI batting rankings.
– India’s No.4 is roaring, He is one of the best ODI batter currently…!!!! pic.twitter.com/H8qBE35nEP
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) November 9, 2023
Iyer’s resurgence has been met with praise from former cricketers. Robin Uthappa has even suggested that Iyer could become the future white-ball captain of the Indian team if he continues his fine form at No.4.
“Whatever was said about his issues with the short ball, he has shown he has put in a lot of hard work and he seems to be confident as well. He looks very very good. He looks very good at No.4. If he continues to perform this way, I won’t be surprised if he becomes the captain of the Indian side. Especially in white-ball cricket,” said Robin Uthappa.
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With over 400 runs in the ongoing tournament, Iyer holds the record for the highest runs scored by an Indian middle-order batter in World Cup history. As India prepares for their high-stakes semi-final clash against New Zealand, Iyer’s presence in the batting order will be crucial for the team’s success.