Cricket-India back Iyer at four despite Chennai duck

By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Shreyas Iyer’s number four slot is not under threat from in-form team mate KL Rahul, batting coach Vikram Rathour said on the eve of their World Cup match against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Iyer returned from a back injury recently to reclaim his number four position and scored a three-ball duck in Sunday’s opener against Australia.

Chasing 200 for victory, India were in trouble after both openers — Ishan Kishan and skipper Rohit Sharma — had fallen before they could open their account.

Former India stalwart Yuvraj Singh was aghast at Iyer’s casual drive that David Warner pouched at short cover.

“No. 4 batsman has to absorb the pressure,” tweeted Yuvraj, India’s trusted number four for a long time, as he asked for “better thinking” from Iyer when team is trying to rebuild their innings.

Number five Rahul made an unbeaten 97 to secure India’s victory after forging a match-winning partnership with Virat Kohli in Chennai.

Asked if they were tempted to play Rahul ahead of Iyer, Rathour said; “No, not at the moment, because he (Rahul) is doing so well at number five and Shreyas has done really well for us at number four.

“So absolutely no such temptations.”

With preferred opener Shubman Gill laid low by dengue, Kishan is likely to continue as an opener even though India would ideally have liked him in the middle order.

Rathour said the left-hander had clear ideas about his new role.

“He has played as an opener. He understands the moment, that was the reason he has been in the team,” Rathour said.

“We knew that he can bat top of the order or in the middle order. He has done that before.

“So, no specific discussion on that. Just hoping that he comes good tomorrow.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed Osmond)