19 March 2018 08:13 PM



Shreyas Iyer: One For The Future

‘He batted fearlessly and he got the result we wanted’

Coming from the annals of Mumbai cricket, Shreyas Iyer is one of those typical young and upcoming cricketers who are tailor-made for the international arena. A swift timer of a cricket ball, the 23-old right-hander has attracted a lot of eyeballs since making his international debut against New Zealand last month. And following the recent back to back half-centuries in his debut One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka, Iyer has managed to throw his hat into the ring for a middle-order spot in India’s full-strength limited-overs squads.

Like many of his contemporaries, the youngster too has reached the highest stage after toiling hard at the age-group and domestic level. He made his First-Class debut in the 2014-15 season and climbed the ladder fairly quickly. Known for his stroke-play and flair, Iyer likes to maintain a high strike-rate across formats. At the First-Class level, he strikes at 80.35, which makes him capable of taking the game away quite rapidly.

Iyer made headlines when Delhi Daredevils bought him at the 2015 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction for a whopping INR 2.6 crore, and he lived up to thoroughly. Opening the batting, he scored 439 runs from 14 matches in the 2015 IPL and went to win the Emerging Player of the Year award.

At the domestic and India A level he has a reputation of being a crisis man, someone who thrives under pressure. A classic example of his temperament was evident in the 2015-16 season Ranji Trophy final, when batting at No 3, Iyer bailed Mumbai out with a 142-ball 117 after being reduced to 23 for 2. His ‘Man of the Match’ effort helped his Mumbai to win the title.

Probably, it is because of his ability to absorb the pressure, Iyer has been fast-tracked to the national side, first in the T20 format then promoted to the ODI level, that too as a replacement of Virat Kohli. And with 162 runs in three innings, he hasn’t done any harm to his reputation.

"The batting of Shreyas Iyer was a big positive," Rohit Sharma, India’s makeshift captain remarked after the series win. "He showed a lot of intent. The way he came out and batted was brilliant. We never felt from the outside that he's played only a couple of games. We felt that he's already been there for a long time. He batted fearlessly and got the result he wanted."

Sharma indeed hit the bull's eye. Not only was Iyer fearless in his approach, he also showcased a lot of maturity in his game. His shot selection and the way he built his innings, proved that he has reached this level as a finished product.

Iyer’s maturity attracted praise from the opposition camp as well. Sri Lanka's interim coach Nic Pothas in his post-match press conference at Vizag spoke highly about this new kid on the block.

"He is a young and very exciting batsman," Pothas said. "For India, it is exciting to have players like that in the system. I am impressed by the way he goes about things. He has got confidence in the way he plays. He has confidence in his ability and is an exciting player to watch."

Well, following this impressive show against the Lankans, the youngster has certainly entered in the scheme of things of the selectors, especially when they are looking for a replacement of Yuvraj Singh. Yes, there are senior pros likes of Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav, who are also in the race, but none of them has cemented his place and this gives Iyer a real chance of taking the game away like he usually does on the field.

In all probabilities, the Mumbaikar will be tried out during the limited-overs leg of South Africa tour and any significant performance over there can take his career to the next level.