Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes that Shreyas Iyer should be batting at the No4 spot for the Men in Blue rather than Rishabh Pant and has called for the right-hander to be made a permanent fixture in the middle-order.
Iyer scored a vital 68-ball 71 for India while batting at No5 in the second ODI against West Indies on Sunday after Pant was dismissed for a 35-ball 20 after coming in at number four.
It was Iyer’s first ODI knock for India in more than 18 months and the 24-year-old grabbed his chance with both hands by forging a match-winning 125-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli.
“In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher because that’s where his natural game and natural flair will come into play,” Gavaskar told broadcaster Sony Sports.
“If India get to a great start with Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma batting for 40-45 overs, then Pant at No. 4. But if it’s a question of batting for 30-35 overs, then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No. 4 and Pant at No. 5,” the India legend added.
Pant’s mature display in India’s 59-run win over the Windies came in for some special praise from Kohli after the game.
Young Shreyas Iyer had a point to prove and has done it in style. Walked out with team in spot of bother but showed calm nerves and high quality strokes to put India in strong position along with Kohli— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 11, 2019
“Brilliant,” the India skipper replied when asked to give his verdict on Iyer’s display.
“Stepping in, not having played many games in the past, but I think he’s a very confident guy, he’s got the right attitude, and his body language was brilliant.
“Beautiful hands on the ball, and really kept the tempo going, took a lot of pressure off me, so I could play myself into a tempo like I like doing, and after I got out he got those extra runs for us as well. Really good start for him, hopefully he gets another one.”
India’s struggles in the middle-order batting positions have been a longstanding issue with No4 spot in particular being a sticking point. Kohli and the team management will now hope that Iyer can continue to build on the promise he has shown and cement a spot in India’s middle-order.
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