India head coach Ravi Shastri, saying that the pool of talented youngsters coming up the ranks in Indian cricket is the best thing for him, identified Shreyas Iyer as the batsman who the team management is seeing as a long-term option for the No. 4 spot in the batting order.
Speaking to TOI, Shastri said, “Shreyas Iyer, for instance, he is going to stay at No. 4. There are more youngsters who will get a look-in.”
Iyer, given a recall to the India ODI side for the tour of West Indies, showed an impressive mix of composure and talent – with scores of 71 and 65 to show from the two matches in which he batted.
The No. 4 slot in the batting order has been India’s biggest woe in recent times. Ambati Rayudu, who has been playing at that spot in recent years, was dropped before the World Cup because of indifferent form. Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar were tried out at the role in the World Cup, but there had been questions about their ability to do justice to the role.
Shastri added, “Bench strength is everything if we’re looking at things from a long-term perspective. That constant flow of fresh, young talent has to be there. Be it Rishabh or Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep, Hardik, Mayank, Shankar – they’re there, constantly raising their hand up. That kind of a pool does wonders when the only objective is to ensure you don’t end up with any kind of deadwood.”
Speaking on what the biggest disappointment of his time at the helm of the India side has been over the last two years, Shastri said, I’ll say the World Cup semifinal. Those 30 minutes changed everything. We were right there and then it all slipped away.”