Australia is rebuilding its 4th pillar in Batting line-up.The role play of No. 4 and 5 is to either to continue from good start or rebuild an innings. Whereas the Bat No.4 keeps the balance between top and lower order
Australia had this problem for some time now. However it was unnoticed as they had solid top 3 Batting order, which made it difficult to identify decline in middle order (4-5-6)
The problem became severe from Jan 2014 – and only this year (7 ODIs) their Bat No.4 is getting consistent runs.
Here is Runs/Inns year-wise for Top 7 Batting Position. Anything less than 30 runs/inn is marked in red for Top 4 position.
Here is a look at Australia’s top batsman at No.4 from 1998.
Michael Clarke has scored max runs at No. 4 in history of ODI cricket. He is followed by Damian Martyn.
Marnus Labuschagne the latest batsman to play that role has big boots to fill.
From 2017 Champions Trophy in England, Australia played 51 ODIs and 106 cricketers represented them. The Bat Position of No.4 had 11 players, No. 5 had 13 and No.6 had 11 players representing. It suggests regular shifting of players in these position. Interestingly only few of them played more than 5 games in these position!.
Since Marnus Labuschagne made his ODI debut there is a reasonable drop in run-rate and boundary rate for Australia, however there is rise in runs/player category(losing less wickets).
Although he batted in only 4 ODIs but his batting has arrested the collapse that Australia were having regularly – or lack of big partnerships.
Marnus is not a power hitter, hence there is shortage of boundaries during his stay at crease. As a batsman he has spend 94 overs in the middle,viz 38.36% of team’s total overs in which he faced less than half (271 balls). This allowed him to be involved and navigate partnerships ranging from 3rd to 7th wkt
His scoring rate is excellent, but in future he needs to increase his boundary rate – as that will allow batsmen in lower order to play more freely and not rely on hitting boundaries from onset!.
Here is team’s gfx that explains how Australia performed using 3 indicators (run-rate, boundary rate, Runs/player)since Labuschagne made his ODI debut.