The number four slot in the Indian batting order has left a lot to be desired. Considered as one of the best batting units in the modern era, India failed to produce a number four batsman going into the 2019 World Cup and the tour of West Indies will provide the selectors the perfect opportunity to try someone like a Shubman Gill or Shreyas Iyer for that position.
Both the batsmen are currently in West Indies with the India ‘A’ team and have been among runs. While Gill has hit 62 and 77 in his last two games against West Indies ‘A’, Iyer managed 77 in the opening game and then followed it up with a 47 in the last game. Interestingly, skipper Manish Pandey hit a century in the last game, but he is seen more as a number five or six than a number four in the batting line-up.
Batting coach Sanjay Bangar came under the scanner for failing to produce a number four batsman despite being with the team for quite some time now.
Speaking to IANS, a senior BCCI official said that the constant chopping and changing in the middle-order was something that had hurt the Indian team not just in the World Cup, but over the last couple of seasons. And for Bangar to not be able to find a solution is something that reflects poorly on the coach.
“It was a constant struggle,” the official said. “While we are all supportive of the players and they had a good tournament with the exception of this bad day in office (in the semi-final against New Zealand), the support staff’s processes and decision-making will surely be scrutinised thoroughly prior to any decision being taken about their future.
“Also, it was pretty ordinary stuff when you had Bangar stating to the Indian media contingent that every player was available for selection when Shankar was ruled out early next morning on account of an injury sustained earlier on tour. Things have been somewhat disorganised when it comes to the assessment of performances of the support staff being made by people who were keen on having select individuals continue in their positions. The present administration set up including the senior employees were all at sea with cricketing decisions and at the same time were ignoring the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) — comprising of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman — completely and that’s a shame,” the official said.
The Windies tour will provide M.S.K. Prasad and team a chance to try out a youngster in the pivotal number four position and ensure that the foundation laid is strong with an eye on the 2023 World Cup.