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KL Rahul or Rishabh Pant at No. 4? India's big batting puzzle

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Dasgupta: India could try Shreyas Iyer to solve monster No. 4 problem (8:22)

Will India play their two wristspinners in the same XI? Will West Indies' batsmen hit back? Catch ESPNcricinfo's preview of the Providence ODI (8:22)

The middle order is a jigsaw puzzle the Indian team is yet to figure out. Leading up, during and now - after - the World Cup, with the focus back on the ODIs, it's the one big question that Virat Kohli and co. are trying to piece out.

The good news is that the top order looks to be in solid form with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan filling the top three slots.

Dhawan is coming back from a thumb injury that ruled him out a little way into the World Cup - and he's yet to get back in peak form (with scores of 23, 1, 3 in the three T20Is) - but Kohli is okay with that.

"50-over cricket gives you a little bit more time to get into your innings and I am not worried about Shikhar's form, not really," he said at the press conference after the third T20I.

It's safe to say that the top three slots have been taken care of.

Now, who is team India's No. 4 batsman?

It's got to be Rishabh Pant. His performance in the World Cup, when he replaced the injured Dhawan and took the No. 4 spot was promising - he scored 32, 48, 4 and 32 in the four matches he played, including the semi-final. Plus, he has two Test centuries to his name - two away Test centuries - to be specific in England and Australia, and 488 runs in 16 matches in this year's IPL with a strike rate of 162.66.

Add this to the 42-ball 65 - including the match-winning six - on Tuesday, in the same ground where they will take on the West Indies in the first ODI, he's definitely a contender for the No. 4 spot. Kohli talked at length about Pant's skills during the T20Is and said all he needs to become a consistent performer is time.

Another batsman who'd vie for the No. 4 spot is KL Rahul. He made it his own with a century in a World Cup warm-up game against Bangladesh but had to move up the order when Dhawan was injured, allowing Pant to showcase his skills.

Rahul has said in the past that he'd like to open the innings for India, but with Dhawan back and Rohit being the other obvious choice, he's taken to the role of middle order batsman quite well. It's a short series, but if the team decides to switch up the order, he could also be considered for the opening slot, giving him an edge over the other middle order batsmen as a floater for the team.

Either of them could work well for the No. 4 spot, with focus on long-term plans to solve the middle order crisis India have found themselves in.

Ravindra Jadeja is solid at No. 7, so this leaves three players to fill two spots.

Will this series help India decide their first-choice middle order?

This series is Shreyas Iyer's chance to seal the No. 5 spot for himself. Sure, he has only played six ODIs for India, but his IPL record as the captain of the Delhi Capitals is noteworthy, scoring 463 runs in 16 matches. The middle order could definitely use a player capable of assessing situations and adapting to them quickly and Iyer has shown himself capable in that regard.

And for the No. 6 spot we have our eyes on Manish Pandey. His numbers at the spot are impressive - 137 ODI runs at an average of 45.66. Pandey has shown his ability to keep the runs coming during the death overs, and seeing as India didn't always have that in the World Cup, he could be something of a missing piece.

Oh and there's Kedar Jadhav as well, who unlike any of the other specialist batsmen in the squad, bowls.

Jadeja's double threat

With the middle order taken care of, Jadeja is the obvious choice for No. 7, but apart from the heroic World Cup semifinal knock of 77 against New Zealand, he has not always scored big runs in ODIs. It'd be interesting to see if the dynamic allrounder is able to keep his double threat with the bat and the ball going this series.