Shastri backs Iyer for No. 4 as India take on West Indies in first ODI

India vs West Indies, West Indies tour of India, Shreyas Iyer, Anil Kumble, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Shastri, first ODI
This probably the Delhi Capitals skipper's last chance to fix himself the much-talked-about position, however, he feels it is a competition for him with his own self. Photo: @ShreyasIyer/Twitter

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard won the toss and opted to bowl against India in the first one-day International in Chennai on Sunday (December 15).

The hosts who have entered the three-match ODI series after emerging victorious in the shortest format series by 2-1 will be eyeing their 10th straight bilateral limited-overs series win against West Indies.

Though India are the favourites for the match, they’ll miss out on their two main men seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar who is being replaced by Shardul Thakur and Shikhar Dhawan whose opening position will be taken by KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal will enter the team.

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All eyes will be on debutant Shivam Dube who in T20Is showed his muscle power while directing the shots out of the stadium.

Another major decision that will hopefully be sorted by the end of this series is who will take the crucial position of number 4. Spin legend Anil Kumble has opined that Shreyas Iyer’s performance at this spot is better than others and coach Ravi Shastri too agreed to it.

Also read: Shardul replaces Bhuvneshwar as India eye first ODI win against West Indies

“The way he is batting now if he doesn’t own that position, I will be very very surprised. He is 24-25 years but he has played so much first-class cricket. I think he has realised what he can do at No. 4. That’s the most important thing,” he told India Today during an exclusive interview.

This probably the Delhi Capitals skipper’s last chance to fix himself the much-talked-about position, however, he feels it is a competition for him with his own self.

“There is a lot of competition currently going on in the team, and I personally feel that I compete with myself. I don’t want myself to be judged with anyone or when you say this position is empty in the team. I am really open-minded and I can bat at any number at a given point,” he said at a post-match press conference.

“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 at the moment. I think, for me personally, they (team management) have given me a heads-up that, you know, ‘you’ll be there at No. 4, so just back yourself and really believe in yourself; we need someone who, even if Kohli or Rohit, when they get out, we need someone to finish the game and bat till the end, ” he added.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has another opportunity to justify the team management’s faith in his as his performance has been highly under-fire with the bat as well as with the gloves.

It will be interesting to see if the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav reunite after last playing together in the World Cup, as the Chepauk surface is expected to aid the slow bowlers.

The experienced Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar will most probably form the pace attack and would face a stern test against the aggressive West Indies batting line-up.


West Indies: Shai Hope(w), Sunil Ambris, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Kieron Pollard(c), Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh, Alzarri Joseph, Sheldon Cottrell.

India: Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

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