Shreyas Iyer is the man of many seasons. Apart from scoring a Test century on debut, the middle-order batsman has answered the Indian team’s plea for a solid middle-order batter in recent times.
When Delhi Capitals released Iyer ahead of the 2022 IPL mega-auction, it was clear that he would be one of the highest bids during the event. Iyer has expressed his interest in the captaincy for the upcoming season.
The discussion over India’s No.4 position reached its peak during the 2019 World Cup, with Virat Kohli’s side churning through four different candidates, none of whom made a half-century, as they stumbled to a semi-final exit but it’s hardly gone away since. Indeed, MS Dhoni’s absence and eventual retirement might widen the void further. Shreyas Iyer, in his first innings at the second drop, showed that he might just have what it takes to provide a long-term solution.
For long, he has been seen in the shadow of Yuvraj Singh, who retired from cricket in 2019. Is Iyer good enough to replace the supremely talented Yuvraj Singh?
As a youngster, Shreyas was compared to the swashbuckling Yuvraj Singh by his Mumbai teammates. Shreyas is a clean hitter of the ball who first rose to prominence with his prolific scoring in the four-day Ranji Trophy. In his debut season (2014-15) he scored 809 runs at an average of more than 50.
Shreyas Iyer in whites
For a long Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have been consistently functioning well for a long time. But since the triumph in Australia in 2021, critics were out with their swords for the two. That the two stalwarts have been underperforming will be an understatement.
When the team is winning, many things are hidden, but when it is losing. Many things are brought to your attention. In his quest to cement a spot on the Test side, Iyer struck a century on debut and then had to wait for his turn after travelling overseas. Hanuma Vihari had a successful tour of Australia and South Africa.
More than the hundred itself, his soaking up of pressure, strike rotation, and usage of the short boundary to his advantage stood out as he rebuilt the innings and enhanced his reputation.
That innings may have been in Test arena, but it had an uncanny resemblance of India’s previous middle-order giant, Yuvraj Singh.
Shreyas Iyer steps up
Earlier, in 2015, he was signed by the Delhi team in India’s most popular franchise-based cricket league for Rs 2.6 crore, making him the highest-paid uncapped player. Consistent performance on the domestic circuit and one-day matches had kept Shreyas in the reckoning for a Test cap.
Iyer might have been the third-biggest buy at the IPL auction but to fit into India’s T20 combination, he would need to showcase all-around skills as that’s what the team is looking for in the middle-order slot, skipper Rohit Sharma has said.
Iyer is a consistent player who has proven himself to be ideal captaincy material in previous editions of the IPL. Right from taking over the reins for the Delhi Capitals (Delhi Daredevils then), Iyer led the team from the front.
Shreyas Iyer is the latest in the long and illustrious line of batsmen from Mumbai, and he means business.