Connect with us
[entitysport_widget id=appendHtmlForslider_widgetcricket]

Shreyas Iyer: From uncertainity to unmovable force in India’s middle order heading into World Cup 2023 final


Shreyas Iyer: From uncertainity to unmovable force in India’s middle order heading into World Cup 2023 final


“No. 4 is a crucial position, especially if the openers get out cheaply. No. 4 batsman needs to have the technique to leave the ball, play the short ball well, and try and create partnerships.”

These were the words of Yuvraj Singh, the man who played a big role in India’s World Cup 2011 triumph coming in the middle-order. The former all-rounder was supporting the use of KL Rahul at number four at that point in time after the Indian batter’s fantastic performance in the Asia Cup 2023.

World Cup 2023: Live Coverage

Rahul got the spot as Shreyas Iyer, who was India’s designated number four, seemed to struggle for form and fitness, with many feeling he wasn’t ready for a big stage like the World Cup. The Mumbai batter was also criticized for his issues with the short ball.

It seemed to have haunted the Mumbai batter for quite sometime in his career, but fitness concerns were something new and seemed to have struck down the batter massively. He would miss the chance to captain KKR in IPL 2023 and also missed the chance to play in the World Test Championship final against Australia, which India ended up losing.

The criticism seemed to be justified at the start of the World Cup as Shreyas got a duck against Australia in the first match. He would remain inconsistent till the England game, as it seemed like the 28-year-old was the only batter in the top five who seemed to be out of touch.

Things would, however, change from the Sri Lanka game as Shreyas decided to take on the attack and not be fazed. What happened was the middle-order batter would score 82, 77, 128 and 105 in the last four matches before the final and accumulate 526 runs in the tournament to be India’s third best batter, according to the stats.

So, what has worked for Shreyas and how did he respond to the criticism to become a permanent fixture in the Indian side?

Shutting down the noise aggressively

The backing from the Indian team management deserves to be applauded for sticking with Shreyas despite the tricky period. But what deserves more praise is the sheer determination to get himself back into form on the field and respond to shutting down the noise outside of it.

There’s usually two ways you can deal with the outside chatter surrounding you as a player. One, you could just take it with a pinch of salt and then go about with your process silently. Second, you can hit back at it and try to shut it down.

Both methods do come with risks, as the room for error is little. One mistake means that the noise will increase and people would inevitably start calling for your head.

Shreyas decided to tackle things head on and grab the bull by its horns. The Indian batter hit back at the criticism with a bit of arrogance and panache and hasn’t really looked back since then.

“Have you seen how many short balls I’ve pulled away for boundaries? If you try to hit a shot, you’re bound to get out anyway, irrespective of it being a short or an over-pitched ball. If I get bowled 2-3 times, you’d say he can’t play in-swinging deliveries,” said Iyer.

“As players, we’re bound to get out on any kind of delivery. You guys have created an atmosphere that I can’t play the short ball. And I feel that people are picking that up and it plays on your mind regularly, and you keep working on that,” Iyer added.

Embracing the attacking intent at number four

We go back to the quote at the start of this piece where Yuvraj pointed out that a number four should leave the ball well, play short balls well and create partnerships. Shreyas clearly hasn’t been doing the first part well because he has been depositing them into the stands for 100m plus sixes.

The Indian batter has a 100-plus strike-rate in his career and his average is above 50. In the World Cup, however, the strike-rate has gone up to 113.11 and his average is 75.14. In India’s semi-final against New Zealand, the strike-rate was 150 and he also claimed the record for the Indian batter with the most sixes in a World Cup match.

In fact, Shreyas is joint-second for the most sixes in the tournament with 24 alongside Australia’s David Warner and just four behind the leader of the list, Rohit Sharma.

Redemption arc is often a term that is thrown around when a player is able to do something remarkable on a big stage after a few setbacks. For Shreyas, it was more of making a statement that he is indeed the number four batter India has been waiting for all these years.

When the World Cup final does get underway and the teams are announced, it seems like a certainty that the man from Mumbai will certainly be on that team sheet at number four.

Published On:

Nov 17, 2023


Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Cricket

Most Runs Scored by


To Top