The No. 4 position in the Indian cricket team has been the talk of the town for many years now, especially in the ODI format. Ever since Yuvraj Singh lost his place in the side, various names like Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, and Ambati Rayudu have been tried without much success.
Recently, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and even MS Dhoni have given the No. 4 slot a go, but like the batsmen before them, they didn't get enough games in a row to cement the position. But Shreyas Iyer has excelled in the limited opportunities he has gotten at No. 4, and seems to have made the position his own in ODI cricket.
India haven't ever had the conundrum they face now, with a wealth of batting riches in the country almost always ensuring that a batsman was on hand to fill any vacancy that opened up at No. 4.
In this article, we take a look at the 3 Indian batsmen with the most runs at the No. 4 position in ODIs.
#3 Rahul Dravid (3,301 runs)
Indian batting great Rahul Dravid was perhaps more suited to Test cricket with his incredible concentration and airtight defence, but he scored over 10,000 runs in a splendid ODI career spanning 344 matches. In these games, The Wall played 108 matches an No. 4, scoring 3,301 runs at a respectable average of 36.27.
His favoured Test position of #3 fetched him the most success in ODIs as well, with his 109 innings yielding 4,000 runs with 7 centuries. However, the quality ODI batsmen at India's disposal often led to Dravid being pushed to #4 and even #5 on occasions (69 innings).
The Karnataka batsman scored 26 fifties and 2 hundreds at #4 at a decent strike rate of 70.91. Dravid even has 11 not-outs to his name after coming in at #4.
#2 Yuvraj Singh (3,415 runs)
Former Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh is second on the list of Indian batsmen with the most ODI runs at #4, with 108 innings at his favourite position yielding 3,415 runs at an impressive average of 35.21.
The flamboyant southpaw was known for his big-hitting abilities, so his strike rate at #4 of 89.44 (his highest at any position barring #7, where he played only 3 innings) doesn't come as a surprise. Yuvraj also tallied 17 fifties and 6 hundreds at #4, with his career-high at the position of 150 coming in that memorable partnership with MS Dhoni against England in 2017.
However, a dip in form towards the end of his career meant that the 2011 World Cup Man of the Tournament finished his career without a farewell match, a career over the course of which he scored 8,701 ODI runs in 278 matches.
#1 Mohammad Azharuddin (4,605 runs)
Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin was a regular at the #4 spot in ODIs, playing 137 games at the position and scoring 4,605 runs at an average of 40.39. He also scored these runs at a strike rate of 77.58, with 33 fifties and 3 tons, and has scored over 1,000 runs more than Yuvraj Singh in second place.
The elegant right-hander, known for his prowess on the leg-side, also played 83 games at #5, but his average of 29.69 and strike rate of 68.8 pale in comparison to those at one spot higher in the batting order. Just like Yuvraj, Azharuddin's career-best score came at #4 - a stroke-filled 153*.
After a life ban was imposed on him due to an ugly fixing scandal, Azharuddin was forced into retirement after having scored 9,378 runs in ODIs at a career average of 36.92 and striker rate of 74.02. He also managed 58 fifties and 7 hundreds in the 50-over format, and hung up his boots as one of India's greatest-ever batsmen.