Nagpur, November 11
The talented Shreyas Iyer has been given a “heads up” by the Indian team management that he will be the designated No. 4 batsman in white-ball format after a string of impressive performances in the past few months.
India tried umpteen players at the No. 4 spot in the lead-up to the 50-over World Cup but none of them could cement their place in the team, and it was used as a floating position during the mega event as the experiment with Vijay Shankar fell flat.
“They (team management) have given me a heads up, saying ‘you’ll be there at No. 4, so just back yourself and believe in yourself’,” Iyer said.
Iyer smashed 62 off 33 balls, with five sixes, against Bangladesh in the decider of the T20 series on Sunday.
“It has been a really important last few series for me to set the benchmark at the No. 4 position, which all of us are competing for at the moment,” said Iyer, who scored a couple of half-centuries batting at No. 5 in the ODIs against the West Indies.
Iyer will have to be one of the ‘finishers’ in case the team’s top two batsmen — skipper Virat Kohli and deputy Rohit Sharma — are dismissed cheaply.
“Even if Kohli and Rohit get out, we need someone to finish the game and bat till the end. That is No. 4’s role. That’s what I was trying to replicate (on Sunday) and it worked out really well for me,” said the 24-year-old.
Asked how significant his knock was considering that the team is trying out fringe players like him ahead of the World T20 next year, Iyer said: “Yes, obviously there is lot of competition in the team. I personally feel that I compete with myself.”
While he will be batting at No. 4 for some time now, Iyer is flexible and ready to bat at any position that the team wants him to. “I am really open-minded and can bat at any number. So I just like to back myself in tough situations and it (Sunday’s innings) showed that I can bat under pressure as well,” he said. — PTI
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