Indian captain Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer after winning the 2nd T20 match against South Africa in Mohali.(PTI)
Indian captain Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer after winning the 2nd T20 match against South Africa in Mohali.(PTI)

India vs Australia - ‘No doubt, he’s got the potential to lead India’: Australia keeper Alex Carey heaps praise on ‘future captain’ Shreyas Iyer

Ind vs Aus: Ahead of the six-match limited-overs series between India and Australia, which will also mark the return of Team India in international cricket after a gap of more than 7 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australia wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey said he had ‘no doubt’ in his mind that in Iyer, India have found a future leader.
By Aritra Mukherjee | New Delhi, Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 17, 2020 12:26 PM IST

Leading from the front? Check! Aggressive and dynamic? Check! Backing of the players? Check! Tactically strong? Check! If there was a checklist prepared for a good white-ball captain then Shreyas Iyer would tick most of the boxes.

Iyer’s rise as a batsman and as a leader has been simultaneous. What was seen as a bold move by Delhi Capitals (then Daredevils) a couple of seasons ago in the IPL is now being hailed as perhaps their best one after Iyer led them all the away to the finals of IPL 2020. The Capitals could not cross the final hurdle but Iyer’s captaincy stood out throughout the series.

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Ahead of the six-match limited-overs series between India and Australia, which will also mark the return of Team India in international cricket after a gap of more than 7 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australia wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey said he had ‘no doubt’ in his mind that in Iyer, India have found a future leader.

“No doubt he’s got the potential to lead India one day. I think Shreyas is going to be a fantastic leader moving forward,” said Carey answering to a Hindustan Times question in a selected media interaction on Tuesday.

Iyer is one of those rare cricketers who thrives under pressure. Responsibilities tend to get the best out of him, the more you expect from him the better he delivers. He proved that in his first assignment as a leader back in 2018.

A 23-year-old youngster who had played a handful of matches for India was given the responsibility to lead an IPL side

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In his first match as skipper of Delhi Capitals after Gautam Gambhir stood down after the first leg, Iyer smashed an unbeaten 40-ball 93 – which is still his highest score in the league – to show a glimmer of hope to a team running on life support.

Delhi finished last but Iyer scored 411 runs at an average of 37. Since then both the Capitals and Iyer have gone strength to strength. In 2019, Iyer led DC to their first play-offs in 7 years, scoring 463 runs. And this year, he once again bettered his tally by amassing 519 runs in what turned out to be DC’s best season in recent memory.

“His ability to connect with all the players in the group was fantastic. He took the focus off himself and worried more about the group. He’s been really successful for the last couple of seasons for Delhi,” Carey said when asked to describe what made Iyer special as a leader.

Carey, who played the entire IPL under Iyer’s captaincy highlighted the right-hander’s ability to connect with players as his biggest USP.

“He’s still young and learning his crafts. He’s a fantastic batsman and a great person as well. To connect with every player in a big squad like Delhi is quite a tiring task but he was excellent in managing that. His positive attitude towards the game and his partnership with Ricky really worked well for us. The future is very bright for him,” he said.

In international cricket, Iyer rose to be India’s best answers to the dreaded No.4 question returning as their highest run-scorer in the five-match T20I series against New Zealand earlier this year. He backed that up with an even better ODI series where he scored 217 runs with 52 being his lowest in three matches.

When India begin their return to international cricket with the first ODI against Australia on November 27 at Sydney, Iyer would hope it also launches another chapter in his life. This time, not as a batsman trying to cement his spot but as a potential leader who wins matches for his side.

(Watch the 1st ODI of India tour of Australia LIVE and Exclusive from 27th November 2020, 8.00 am onwards only on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels)

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