“There is not a single batter who has scored a century for…”: Aakash Chopra

In the realm of cricket, the number 4 position in the batting lineup holds immense significance. It’s a spot that demands resilience, adaptability, and the ability to anchor an inning or accelerate as needed. For Pakistan, however, the No.4 slot in one-day internationals (ODIs) has become a source of persistent concern and a barrier to consistent success.

As the Asia Cup 2023 unfolds, Babar Azam’s Pakistan finds itself in a must-win situation against Sri Lanka. The stakes couldn’t be higher; the winner of this contest will earn the privilege of facing India in the tournament’s showdown. While the excitement and anticipation are palpable, Pakistan faces a formidable challenge, and a critical aspect of their struggle lies in the performance, or lack thereof, at the No.4 position.

Aakash Chopra, an astute cricket analyst and former player, has shed light on Pakistan’s batting woes at No.4 in ODIs. His analysis paints a stark picture of Pakistan’s middle-order struggles. “Pakistan has a serious problem at the No.4 slot,” he asserts. What follows is a sobering list of batsmen who have graced this position for Pakistan since 2019, and the numbers are far from flattering.

Chopra notes that not a single batter has managed to score a century at No.4 for Pakistan since 2019. It’s a damning statistic, considering the centrality of centuries in modern limited-overs cricket. The names on this list include Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Sohail, Haider Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan Masood, and Saud Shakeel. While some of these players have shown promise on other occasions, the No.4 spot has remained an unconquerable fortress.

The frustration doesn’t end with the absence of centuries. Even half-centuries have been elusive for Pakistan’s No.4 batters. Chopra emphasizes this point by highlighting that, in addition to the century drought, these batsmen haven’t even managed to rack up many fifties. Mohammad Rizwan, who has been a shining star for Pakistan, has seven half-centuries to his name while batting at No. 4. Haris Sohail, another talented batsman, has only managed to register a solitary half-century.

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“Pakistan have serious problem at the No.4 slot. There is not a single batter who has scored a centuery for them since 2019 at No.4. Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Sohail, Haider Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan Masood and Saud Shakeel are part of the list,” he said.

He further added, “Forget about the hundred, they haven’t come up with fifties as well. Rizwan has seven half-centuries while batting at No. 4 and Haris Sohail has one half-century.”

As Pakistan prepares for the high-stakes encounter against Sri Lanka, their batting dilemma at the No.4 slot looms large. The absence of centuries and the scarcity of fifties from a multitude of talented players reflect a deep-seated issue that requires urgent attention. In the cutthroat world of international cricket, addressing this No.4 problem could be the key to Pakistan’s resurgence and their pursuit of glory in the Asia Cup 2023.

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