ODI: Shreyas Iyer makes a point with run feast
Four half-centuries and an unbeaten, match-winning hundred. That sums up Shreyas Iyer in his last six ODI innings.
In the only game where he had fallen short of 50, in the final ODI against the West Indies in Port of Spain back in July, he had still managed to score a brisk 44 at a strike rate of around 130. It does reflect how dominant Shreyas has been lately in the oneday format.
The young batter has not found a place in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia and is among the reserves. However, the fluency and authority with which Shreyas has batted so far in the two one-dayers against South Africa in tough conditions does send a message across to captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid. That, if required, he’s well prepared to be joining at short notice.
From the ODI perspective, the composure the 27-year-old has shown scoring these 404 runs in his last six innings certainly adds to India’s options in the middle order ahead of next year’s home ODI World Cup. That he batted at No.3, 4 and 5 in these matches also underlines Shreyas’ flexibility.
There’s every possibility of facing stiff competition from the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant or for that matter, even KL Rahul, especially for the No.4 slot in the Indian batting line-up. But as of now, Shreyas has definitely made his case for that position.
“He’s young, he’s fit and then he’s batting very well. So yes, Shreyas surely deserves a place in the Indian team,” former India captain and former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar told The Telegraph on Monday.
Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Chandrakant Pandit, who has worked with Shreyas at the start of his firstclass career, emphasised the need to maintain this rich vein of form.
“There’s still a long time to go for the ODI World Cup. So far, Shreyas has proven that he belongs to the highest level. But he also needs to ensure that he keeps producing such performances in order to strengthen his case before the selectors.
“That way, the road will become smoother for him,” Pandit stressed.
On quite a few occasions, even in limited-overs cricket, Shreyas has been dismissed by the short-pitched stuff. This shouldn’t be too big a worry though, as next year’s World Cup will be held in India.
“I don’t think it’s that big a problem for Shreyas. In limited-overs cricket, there’s always a hurry to score runs. So the execution of shots won’t always be right,” Vengsarkar feels.
Pandit believes Shreyas will tackle the problem soon. “I feel we’re sometimes too harsh on him. There are also players who struggle against the outswinger, so why just pull Shreyas up by raising the short ball issue?” Pandit argued.
“During his century yesterday (Sunday), did he not have to face a single short ball? Of course he had to. Yes, conditions are different here, but scoring an unbeaten hundred against a bowling attack of international standard is no joke.”