If there is a batsman in a team who is an expert in classical batting and also plays shots with such force that the ball falls 100 meters away, then that batsman will be called the star batsman of that team.
There were many stars in the star-studded Indian team, but among them, a batsman has made his debut who will make his name among the few batsmen in the world after this World Cup. We are talking about Shreyas Iyer who is making his own place in the star-studded Indian team. In this World Cup, he is batting in such a way that everyone from Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting to Wasim Akram is praising him.
On Sunday, Iyer played an unbeaten inning of 128 runs against Netherlands and scored his first century in the World Cup. He became the third batsman for India after Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to score a century at number four in the World Cup. The last time Yuvraj Singh scored a century in this position in the World Cup was in 2011.
It is not just his runs that are being talked about in the cricket world, but the mature manner in which he has handled his innings has increased the expectations placed on him manifold.
Shreyas Iyer is one of the most exciting young batsmen in Indian cricket today. With the help of brilliant performances in Ranji Trophy and IPL, he made his debut in international cricket in 2017, but his journey was not very easy. He has had to go through many injuries and failures, but every time he has come back stronger.
Iyer made his international debut in December 2017 in the ODI format against Sri Lanka. He scored a half-century in his second match and soon established himself as a regular member of the Indian team.
A few months later he made his T20I debut. He was also selected for the Indian team for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. However, he missed the tournament due to a shoulder injury. He scored his first ODI century against New Zealand in 2020 and followed it up with a century and a half-century in his Test debut against the same team in 2021.
But Iyer has had to face injuries many times throughout his career. Apart from the shoulder injury that ruled him out of the 2019 World Cup, he also missed matches due to back and hamstring injuries. These injuries have spoiled his rhythm and it has become difficult for him to maintain consistency.
Even before the current World Cup, he remained out of the Indian team for months due to surgery. He spent a long time in recovery in NCA. He worked hard in NCA and after passing the fitness test, he joined the Indian team just before the World Cup. Although once again due to sprain in the Asia Cup, it was considered difficult for him to play in the World Cup, but Iyer returned to the Indian team in time.
Apart from the injuries, the media and some former experts caught another mistake of Iyer which he refused to accept. Actually, Shreyash Iyer started facing the problem of getting out on short balls. He is a compulsive puller and is forced to pull or hook when he receives a shot ball.
Teams took advantage of his so-called weakness and got him caught out at the midwicket boundary several times. Shreyas Iyer himself does not consider this as his weakness, rather he says that sometimes he gets out while playing shots because he is a natural stroke player. He believes that if his runs and fours are counted from pull shots, then they are more than his dismissals.
However, if we look at Shreyash Iyer's average of around 50, it becomes difficult to believe that there is any major flaw in his batting. In this World Cup too, Iyer was out on some shot balls but he later compensated for them by scoring big scores. If we look at his last five innings, one thing that he has changed in his batting style is to reduce the risk in the initial batting. He gave a great example of this in his batting against South Africa in Kolkata.
Batting on a difficult pitch, he emphasized singles and doubles and played less aerial shots. When his eyes were completely fixed, he played big shots in the air. He showed similar batting against Netherlands also.
Play slowly in the beginning and later hit fours and sixes. This batting approach of his can make him a great player because no one doubts his talent, it remains only to see how his temperament takes shape like that of champion players.
In the 2023 Cricket World Cup, Iyer has been one of India's most successful batsmen. He has scored more than 400 runs in the tournament, including a century against the Netherlands. He has also played some important innings in the middle order, which has helped India win important matches.
So far in this World Cup, he has scored 421 runs in 9 innings at an average of 70, which includes one century and 3 half-centuries. He is currently at eighth place in the list of most runs scored in this World Cup. Among Indian players, only Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have scored more runs than him.
After his Kolkata innings, commentator Harsha Bhogle said that this innings was probably the best innings of his career because it was scored at a difficult time in difficult conditions.
After the Netherlands' innings, Sanjay Manjrekar praised him a lot and said, "He is such a batsman who knows how to change his gear while batting." Despite there being five fielders in the circle, he can take out singles and when the pressure increases, he can also score boundaries by playing in the air.
Earlier, Manjrekar had strongly criticized Shreyash's fitness and his habit of getting out on short balls, but now he too has become a fan of Iyer's game.
Indian coach Rahul Dravid also considers Shreyas Iyer as a special player who plays better under pressure. Dravid has been watching Iyer since his debut match and he is also crazy about Iyer's batting skills and his nature. Dravid believes that Iyer is a very intelligent cricketer and has a good grip on the game due to which he can easily adapt to different situations.
However, not all former cricketers have been positive about Iyer. Some players have criticized him for his lack of consistency and his tendency to get out in soft ways.
But despite all this, Shreyas Iyer is a work in progress player, who can emerge as a complete package after this World Cup. Iyer has solved another big problem that has been going on in Indian cricket for many years and that is batting at number four in ODIs. After the retirement of Yuvraj Singh, the Indian team did not find any batsman in this position who could play for a long time and score runs successfully.
The number four position in ODI has been decorated with the batting of batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and Yuvraj Singh. But after Yuvi's retirement, many batsmen like Suresh Raina, Dhoni, Vijayshankar, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane were tried in this position but no one could succeed in this position. The problem of number four had been troubling the Indian team for almost 10 years and then Shreyas Iyer got a chance at this position.
Shreyash did not waste any time in making this position his own. So far, playing at number 4, he has scored 1288 runs in 31 innings at an average of 52, which includes 3 centuries and 8 half-centuries. Including all the matches, he has scored 2222 runs in 51 innings at an average of 49.38, which includes 4 centuries and 17 half-centuries.
Overall, Shreyas Iyer's journey since his debut in international cricket has been mixed. He has shown glimpses of his talent, but he has also failed. However, he is still a young player and has the potential to become one of the best batsmen in the world.