IND vs WI: Shreyas Iyer throws his hat in the ring to bat at No 3 in ODIs


With Virat Kohli not in the team and looking at his lean patch, India will have to fill the hole at one down. Kohli is enduring a wretched run with the bat and has failed to score a century since November 2019. He could manage just 76 runs from six innings across formats on England soil, which included the rescheduled fifth Test, two ODIs and as many T20s.

Kohli was rested by the team management for the ODI series against West Indies, and Shreyas Iyer has grabbed the opportunity with both hands by scoring back-to-back fifties in the ongoing three-match ODI series.

Batting at No 3

It’s no secret that he relishes batting at No 3 and playing against West Indies. It was Iyer’s seventh fifty-plus total in eight ODI innings against the Caribbeans.

“It is a fun position to bat at, and I really enjoy it. It is one of the best positions to bat because you go into a very tough situation if the wicket falls in early. You go in and you have to see the new ball and then build your innings. Also if the openers have got into a really good partnership, then you have to go carry forward that momentum, take it on from where they have left and see to it that the run rate is maintained,” Iyer told reporters after India scripted a sensational series-clinching two-wicket win over the West Indies in the second game.

In the recently-concluded England series, Iyer didn’t get much game time, but he has proved his doubters wrong with his impressive knocks against the West Indies.

“Playing in the team is not in my hand. What I can do is train hard off the field and see to it that you know whenever I got the opportunity, I have to maximise it, and that’s what I have been doing,” said Iyer, who scored a 71-balls 63 in the second ODI.

“Today and the day before yesterday, I got the opportunity to represent my country that I feel is bigger than anything. I gave my 100 per cent, and when I left the field, I had no regrets,” he added.

On extending net sessions

Iyer credits his excellent run of form to the extended net session he has done with the team’s batting coach Vikram Rathour.

“Hard work off the field always pays off. This is the reflection of what you do off the field. I am working hard because wickets and conditions are changing frequently, and you have to stay fit and keep motivating yourself. My mindset is that I will do my work and try to control the controllable.

Missing out on a hundred

The 27-year-old Iyer rues the missed opportunity to convert the start into the big one. He said: “Really fortunate to get to consecutive half-centuries. But I should have converted it into a century. You don’t get such kind of starts every time in international cricket. The more you convert your fifties into hundreds, the better it is. Today was a golden opportunity for me to convert my innings. But at the same time as long as the team is winning, I am happy to contribute.”

“I was really happy to get to what score I got today. But was unhappy with the way I got dismissed. I thought that I could have taken the team through easily and set up the total, but I was very unfortunate with the way i got out. Hopefully, I will be able to score a century in the next one,” said Iyer.

The partnership with Sanju Samson

Chasing a stiff target of 312, India were in a spot of bother after they lost Shubman Gill (43) and Suryakumar Yadav (9) in quick succession. Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson (54) tried to take the chase deep with a 99-run partnership off 94 balls.

“It was a crucial partnership. We lost two back-to-back wickets. We were 60 for 3 (79/3), and from there, we had to rebuild. Sanju came in and obviously showed a lot of intent. I was already batting. I had faced around 20 balls and was batting on 15. I knew what I was going to do, and Sanju at the same time, he faced a few balls, and then he went after the spinners. He hit them for two sixes, and suddenly, the momentum shifted towards us. From there onwards, we built on the partnership and carried forward the momentum,” said Iyer.

Axar Patel’s whirlwind

Axar Patel walked in when India were needed 107 runs from 11 overs. He smoked a un unbeaten 35-ball 64, his maiden ODI fifty, to guide India to a thrilling win.

Shreyas Iyer narrates how the emotions were running high in the dressing room in the last two overs of the match and how Team India’s head Rahul Dravid was getting animated with every passing ball.

“It was fun, to be honest. We were all sitting together, and Rahul sir was getting very tensed; he was consistently passing on the message,” said Iyer.

“I think a lot of players showed really good emotions out there and were very calm and composed in the pressure situation. And since we have played so many matches lately, I think we have already seen all these emotions. It was just another game for us. I think we did pretty well, especially Axar, the way he finished off today. It was an outstanding knock,” he said.

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