With exactly nine days left for the start of the 2023 Asia Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is expected to announce India’s squad for the event on Monday. The squad announcement will take place during BCCI’s meeting in Delhi, with both head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma part of the conversation. From Jasprit Bumrah’s comeback in the ongoing T20I series against Ireland, to the fitnes off KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, the management will have plenty of tough calls to make before churning out the strongest-possible squad.
Rahul and Iyer’s injuries has created a void in India’s middle-order, with the management yet to finalise the no. 4 spot. Rishabh Pant would’ve been another option, but he too is out for a lengthy period, having suffered a car crash last year.
Iyer has scored the most number of runs for India at no. 4 in the current World Cup cycle, followed by Pant and Rahul. The Mumbai batter had establish himself as one of the most reliable batters, but an unfortunate injury now has the Indian team chasing shadows.
India’s possible options at no. 4?
With Rahul and Iyer racing against time to be fit for the continental event, India will now have to pick between these four players — Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson and Tilak Varma.
Suryakumar Yadav is a prove match-winner when it comes to T20Is, but by his own admission, he has not able to replicate his riches in the One-Day Internationals. He averages 46.02 in T20Is, but only 24.33 in ODIs.
Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are expected to make the Asia Cup, but only of them is likely to be in the XI as a wicketkeeper-batter. While both have previously batted at no. 4, the performances have been anything but convincing fro both parties.
Tilak Varma has made a late claim for the no. 4 spot, following his debut tour of West Indies. Experts, Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri, have vouched for his selection. If he gets into the side, Tilak could be a strong contender for the role.
Also, India’s don’t have left-hander in their middle-order, and Tilak ticks that box too.
Virat Kohli can also stake his claim for the role, having batted at no. 4 during India’s triumphic World Cup campaign in 2011. However, he has only batted twice in that position.
While Kishan, who has an ODI double century to his name, is more likely to fill in, Iyer and Rahul will force him out of the team once they are fit.
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