Indian cricket could witness a transition following a shocking exit from the ICC World Cup 2019. A number of members of the squad came under scrutiny following the semi-final debacle as India lost to finalists New Zealand by 18 runs and if reports are to be believed, doors could open for youngsters as replacements. India will next play the West Indies in a full-fledged away series and with top guns like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah set to be rested for the limited-overs series. One player who could return into the reckoning is Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer.
The 24-year-old batsman had made his India debut in 2017 but lost his place after playing just six ODIs and as many T20Is. He scored two fifties in the ODIs and averages an impressive 42 but didn’t play for India after the tour of South Africa in early 2018. Iyer stole the limelight with both his batting and captaincy in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in which he represents Delhi Capitals (DC).
Iyer, who led the DC to the IPL playoffs in 2019 after a long gap of seven years, is currently touring the West Indies with the India ‘A’ side and slammed 77 on a challenging pitch in the first List A game against the West Indies ‘A’ in Coolidge. India ‘A’, led by Manish Pandey, won the first two unofficial ODIs by similar margins — 65 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Iyer was excited to go to his maiden tour of the West Indies. Ahead of the tour, he told bcci.tv, “This will be the first time I am going to the West Indies. It’s going to be a new experience and a good exposure for me. The wickets are a bit like Indian tracks, the bowlers are going to be challenging there as well.”
I want to grow as an individual
Iyer had an impressive IPL this year with 463 runs from 16 games with three fifties and many expected him to be one of the players to join the India squad as a replacement player during the just-concluded World Cup. However, Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal were called up as replacements for an injured Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar, respectively.
Iyer too backs him to return into the national side. “I deserve a chance in the Indian team. My performances in the India ‘A’ series should count. My goal is to be better than the previous season, I want to grow as an individual and become more mature as a player. I want to try bat till the end,” Iyer, who averages over 52 in 54 first-class games, said.
Iyer also wants to learn the best of qualities from ace cricketers like Kohli, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. While he wants to have the hunger for runs that Kohli possesses, he is keen to learn the trick of staying calm under pressure as like Dhoni. From Mumbai team-mate Rohit, he wants to imbibe the skill of pacing the innings.