With the conundrum surrounding the number four slot in India’s One-Day International side not looking to end anytime soon, Pravin Amre, a former India player and a renowned coach, believes one of Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer has the potential to solve the team’s problem.
While India have managed to get the results in the 50-over format this year, the number four slot has been a big worry for the team management. Ever since Yuvraj Singh was dropped from the team after the West Indies tour, the team-management has tried out as many as six players but not with much success. Since Yuvraj’s departure, the management has tested Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and now it’s back again to Karthik.
And now Shreyas Iyer has also thrown his hat in the ring with a fine 88-run knock in the second One-Day International against Sri Lanka. With Virat Kohli rested from the ongoing series, the Mumbai star was sent into bat at number three and fully capitalised on the opportunity. But he is set to leave the number three spot once Kohli returns, and Amre feels he along with Karthik and Pandey are ‘certainly in contention’ for the number four spot.
“Karthik is by far the most experienced of the lot and has done exceptionally well in domestic cricket. However, one can’t forget the fact that Manish scored a superb hundred in Australia last year and Shreyas smashed a ton in the final of the ‘A’ tri-series against South Africa ‘A’ in South Africa recently. All three have the potential and are certainly in contention,” Amre told The Times of India.
Karthik was recalled to the ODI team this year after a three-year gap following his impressive performance in a domestic circuit. He led Tamil Nadu to their fifth Vijay Hazare title by scoring 112 in the final against Bengal and finished the 50-overs tournament as the top run-getter averaging 86.71. In the Ranji Trophy, he scored 704 runs in 10 matches at an average of 54.15. He continued his red-hot form in the Duleep Trophy too where he scored 211 runs in the three games he played for India Blue. He also led Tamil Nadu to Deodhar Trophy title by scoring 247 runs in 3 matches. His form in the IPL was equally impressive where he amassed 361 runs in 14 outings at an average of a shade over 36.
On the other hand, Pandey returned to the ODI side after leading India A to a series win in South Africa. Leading from the front, Pandey finished the series as the highest run-scorer, scoring 307 runs in just five matches at an outstanding average of 307. Iyer also made his ODI debut after his consistent performances in the domestic arena.
The race for the number four slot, meanwhile, looks far from over. Karthik, who is the current holder of that place, has scored 50*, 37, 64*, four* and 0 in his last five innings while Pandey has registered scores of 3, 36*, 33, 11*, 2. But with the South Africa tour just a few weeks away, the team-management would be desperate to have a fixed name for that spot.
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