India were whitewashed 0-3 in the ODI series by New Zealand after dishing out a whitewash themselves in the T20I series preceding the ODIs. While there were very few positives from the series for India, Shreyas Iyer shone through with an outstanding performance at no. 4 for the visitors.
Iyer made scores of 103, 52 and 62, a series tally of 217 runs which is the third-best by any Indian from the no 4 position in a three-match ODI series. Only Rohit Sharma in 2010 in a series against Sri Lanka and Virat Kohli against in the 2012 tri-series in Australia have more runs from the position in a three-match series.
Iyer averaged 72.33 in the New Zealand series, scoring at a strike rate of 95 or more with a century and two half-centuries.
Since coming in at no. 4 for India in ODIs, Iyer has owned the position and resolved a major headache for team India. Iyer's consistency has been his plus point. The middle-order batsman has churned out runs at will even when the top-order hasn't fired like in this series against New Zealand.
In his maiden series against Sri Lanka in 2017, Iyer hit two half-centuries in three matches before two less-than-convincing knocks against South Africa. When he returned to the side in 2019, Iyer hit four half-centuries on the trot against the Windies in two series spread across the Caribbean Islands and then back home.
He was unbeaten on 44 at Rajkot in the final game against Australia at home before the New Zealand tour, only the second ODI series he completed without a half-century. But he has compensated for that in New Zealand with a century and two half-centuries.
Iyer has nine scores of 50 or more in 16 innings for India in ODIs. 56.25% of his knocks are 50 or above which is a world record in ODIs at this stage. No batsman with at least 10 ODI innings has a better percentage of 50-plus scores.
Ian Chappell and Aqib Ilyas of Oman have 50% each while Nepal's Anshuman Rath has 44.44%. Rassie van der Dussen recently became part of the list with his brilliant form for the Proteas. Like Ryan ten Doeschate, Van der Dussen has a 50-plus percentage of 43.75.
Since Iyer's return to the ODI setup in August 2019, only two batsmen - Ilyas and Virat Kohli - have more runs than him in ODIs. Iyer has 538 runs at an average of 53.8 while striking at a rate of 100 or more. Of batsmen with 500-plus runs in this time frame, only KL Rahul and Iyer strike at a rate of over 100.
Iyer's count of seven scores of fifty or more in ODIs in this time frame is the best for any batsman. No other batsman has over six scores of 50 or more in this period, underlining Iyer's consistency with the bat.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Michael Bradley