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Shreyas Iyer, Indian cricket’s new kid on the block

Shreyas Iyer’s batting form in domestic cricket and his ability to explode in the shorter versions of the game make him a hot property in Indian cricket.

cricket Updated: Mar 24, 2017 11:56 IST
Harit Joshi
Shreyas Iyer has been called up as a backup for injured Virat Kohli for the fourth and final India vs Australia Test in Dharamsala from Saturday.
Shreyas Iyer has been called up as a backup for injured Virat Kohli for the fourth and final India vs Australia Test in Dharamsala from Saturday.(PTI)

Shreyas Iyer, drafted into the Indian team for the fourth and final India vs Australia Test in Dharamsala, is among the top young batsmen from Mumbai to watch out for. However, he never quite set the stage on fire in local games like his contemporaries Sarfaraz Khan or Armaan Jaffer did in school cricket.

Shreyas Iyer quietly went about his task. He was also part of the India U-19 World Cup squad in 2014 played in the UAE, but Shreyas Iyer hardly got a look in, playing just three matches in which he scored 161 runs.

Shreyas Iyer’s U-19 World Cup exploits though were enough for Mumbai selectors to draft him in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team.

After an average performance in the middle order, coach Pravin Amre, who is also his first coach, decided to promote him in the batting order which paid off handsomely. Iyer ended up as team’s leading run-getter with 809 runs at an average of 50.56 in his debut first-class season.

Several former players had reckoned that Iyer should be fast-tracked into the Indian team. Though the India cap still remains elusive, the explosive right-handed batsman fetched Rs 2.6 crore contract with IPL team Delhi Daredevils. On Thursday, he was called up by the Indian team management as a cover-up for injured Test captain Virat Kohli.

Iyer continued his good show in the IPL where he bagged the emerging player award after aggregating 439 in 14 matches.

India A's Shreyas Iyer (L) plays a shot as Australia's captain Steve Smith (C) and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade look on during the final day of three-day practice cricket match between India A and Australia at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai on February 19, 2017. (AFP)

Back to the first-class grind, the challenge now was to replicate or better the previous season mark. In his second first-class season, Iyer toppled all expectations as he amassed 1,321 runs at an average of 73.38 which included a century in the final against Saurashtra at Pune’s MCA Stadium to help Mumbai clinch their 41st Ranji title.

The chorus grew louder to include Shreyas Iyer at the international level, but it still didn’t happen.

In the tour game against Australia at Brabourne Stadium last month, Shreyas Iyer slammed a double ton which included 27 boundaries and seven sixes as he smashed Aussies spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe all over the park.