No. 4 has been a key batting slot in one day cricket ever since its conception. The following qualities are required in a No. 4 batsman: the ability to stabilise an innings after quick wickets and the ability to keep the run flow going after a quick start. The player should be able to rotate the strike well mainly in the middle overs and find the boundaries in the latter stages of an innings. To find a batsman with both these qualities has been a difficult task for teams in the recent past.
Best No.4 Batsmen in ODI History
Not all teams have found a quality No.4 batsman in One Day International cricket in present times. Furthermore, not many No.4s have been performing too well. The top 3 right now are South Africa’s A B De Villiers, Ross Taylor for the Kiwis and English skipper Eoin Morgan. They have been fairly consistent and have bailed their teams out from trouble on a number of occasions.
All three have the ability to rotate the strike with some good running in the middle overs and have struck crucial partnership for their countries. Ross Taylor hasn’t been able to keep the run flow going in the past few years after a good start from the team. Both Morgan and De Villiers have been doing that quite regularly for their teams with their unorthodox techniques and shots. AB’s stats are far superior to Morgan’s in the No.4 batting position. While the latter has played 44 innings scoring 1872 runs at the slot, the former has played 122 innings and has scored 5528 runs. De Villiers is also leaps and bounds ahead in the ODI rankings, 15 spots higher than Morgan to be precise.
The swashbuckling right hander’s average of 52.65, an incredible strike rate of 97.22 and the current ODI ranking of No.3 speaks volumes about his ability and performance as a No.4 batsman. They say stats only tell half the story, and certainly, De Villiers hasn’t been declared the best No.4 batsman in the world based only on his statistics. He has the ability to grind it out when the heat is on and can also go berzerk when needed.
He can score boundaries with ease and find open spaces in the park whenever the need has arisen. No wonder he is called Mr 360. Time and time again, De Villiers has increased the pace of South Africa’s innings, like he did when they scored more than 400 against India at the Wankhede.
A B De Villiers may have a better strike rate and average at No.5, but sustaining an average of over 50 and scoring close to run a ball for more than 100 innings is a magnificent achievement. He has played just 41 innings at No.5 and hasn’t got an extended run at the position.There is no denying the fact that De Villiers hasn’t been at his
There is no denying the fact that De Villiers hasn’t been at his best off late. But one thing is true – its only a matter of time before he is back to his old swashbuckling ways. A lull in form doesn’t diminish the fact that he is a wonderful player and the best No. 4 batsman in the world at the moment.