India stuttered after Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first in the second ODI versus West Indies at Port of Spain. As the team lost Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma early in the match, Virat Kohli was a solid presence.
Rishabh Pant also fell after playing a loose stroke. This brought Shreyas Iyer out to the middle and the young man combined beautifully with his skipper.
However, when Pant walked in ahead of Iyer, a few people who were surprised as India opted to use a wicket-keeper batsman instead of a regular batsman at the all-important number 4 role. After the match, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar echoed this sentiment and said that he sees Pant more as a finisher in the mould of MS Dhoni and hence, should bat at number 5 or 6.
Batting order should be flexible
"In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher because that's where his natural game and natural flair will come into play," Sunil Gavaskar told the host broadcasters Sony Ten.
Gavaskar added that if India gets off to a bright start and the platform is set, Pant can be bumped up the order in order to capitalize on the start.
"If India get to a great start with Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma batting for 40-45 overs, then Pant at No. 4. But if it's a question of batting for 30-35 overs, then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No. 4 and Pant at No. 5," said Gavaskar.
There is this feeling that after a good solid inning, Iyer should bat at number 4 in the final game of the series and Gavaskar believes the young man has done enough to deserve a promotion in the batting order.
Speaking about the innings in the second ODI, Gavaskar said that it was a good effort and the fact that he was batting with the captain helped his cause as Kohli kept taking the pressure off him.
"He has grabbed his opportunity. He came at No. 5. He had plenty of overs. He had the company of his skipper, Virat Kohli. Nothing quite like it because the skipper takes the pressure off you," Gavaskar said.
"The best place to learn in cricket is the non-striker's end. That's what Shreyas Iyer was doing with Virat Kohli at the other end," he added.