'His Front Foot Goes Nowhere. He Is In No Position': Misbah, Akram Point Out India's 'weakest Link' At World Cup 2023
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‘His Front Foot Goes Nowhere. He Is In No Position’: Misbah, Akram Point Out India’s ‘weakest Link’ At World Cup 2023

Former Pakistan captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Wasim Akram had intriguing takes on Shreyas Iyer’s form and suggested changes in India’s XI at World Cup 2023.

Currently on a six-match winning streak, Team India looks pretty much unstoppable. If anyone doubted their ability to defend a total after winning the first five matches batting first, the Men in Blue passed that test with flying colours against England, dismissing them for a disappointing 129 in a chase of 230, thus winning the match by 100 runs to go top of the table. On the back of such red-hot form, India are marching on the road to the World Cup final, let alone the semi-finals.

But while India have ticked all boxes – and they really have with all players turning up and dishing out match-winning performance – one player that hasn’t fired as much is Shreyas Iyer. With scores of 0, 25, 53, 19, 33 and 4, Iyer has 134 runs at 33.5 while batting at No. 4. After finishing the game against Pakistan, Iyer started well against New Zealand, but once again fell to the short ball. Even in the previous game versus England on Sunday, he was out while attempting a pull shot.

“Hardik Pandya has to return too after being fit. From Day 1, I feel that KL Rahul at No. 5 is too late. He is a class player and should bat at No. 4. Once Hardik is back, Suryakumar Yadav can bat 6 and Jadeja 7. Then his (Iyer’s) selection would become difficult. He (Iyer) has scored runs; he is coming off a hundred against Australia, is rated high. But overall, his average against fast bowling is around 19-20 and when it comes to short balls, he is just not able to find it. When your weakness comes to the fore, all teams will exploit it,” Misbah said on A Sports.

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“He is expecting the short ball and many times, even against short-of-length balls which aren’t ideal for pulling, like the one against England, he goes for the shot. So, you are overthinking about the short ball and you are in trouble. See his front foot. After the initial movement, it goes nowhere. And he is in no position to play the short ball. And he doesn’t even try to avoid the short ball.”

Shreyas’ string of missed opportunities has attracted the attention of former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who explained at length what’s plaguing Iyer and how his failures could put his place in India’s Playing XI in jeopardy.

Wasim Akram agrees Shreyas Iyer is ‘India’s weakest link’
Misbah’s sentiments found resonance with another cricketing legend from Pakistan, Wasim Akram, who delivered a well-timed reminder of Ishan Kishan’s potential. When the anchor inquired about Shreyas’ vulnerability in the Indian line-up, calling him ‘India’s weakest link’, the former Pakistan captain highlighted the intriguing option that Ishan Kishan, a left-handed batsman, presents in the middle order.

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This adds a layer of diversity to the team, complementing Suryakumar Yadav, who seems to have unlocked the ODI puzzle at No. 6 with impressive scores of 50, an unbeaten 72, and a solid 49.

“Yeah, he has to perform because Ishan Kishan is sitting out and he is a left-hander. Remember the first game he played in the Asia Cup, he and Hardik Pandya struck a partnership. So he can bat in the middle order,” added Akram.

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