Kevin Pietersen questions ‘sloppy’ Shreyas Iyer’s ‘hunger’ in furious rant | Cricket - Hindustan Times

‘Horrible and sloppy. What was he even doing?’: Kevin Pietersen questions Shreyas Iyer’s ‘hunger’ in furious rant

Feb 02, 2024 04:26 PM IST

Iyer, who was touted to play a bigger role in the batting line-up in the absence of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, scored 27 runs off 59 deliveries

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen launched a scathing criticism of Shreyas Iyer's knock in the second Test between India and England in Visakhapatnam, questioning the India batter's drive and 'hunger' to remain part of the Test side. Iyer, who was touted to play a bigger role in the batting line-up in the absence of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, scored 27 runs off 59 deliveries in a knock filled with odd approaches against both spin and pace.

Kevin Pietersen was furious at Shreyas Iyer's knock in second Test against England
Kevin Pietersen was furious at Shreyas Iyer's knock in second Test against England

Iyer's dismissal came out of nowhere in the 51st over of India's first innings at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium. On Jaiswal's watch, India were powering through, before Iyer's stay in the middle was halted by Tom Hartley, courtesy of some intelligent glovework from Ben Foakes. It was back of a length outside off, which urged Iyer to go for the cut shot, but the ball skidded low, took an under-edge and fell into the wicketkeeper's gloves.

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Iyer walked back disappointed, but Pietersen, speaking on Jio Cinema, said that this knock will haunt him when the likes of Virat Kohli return, subsequently putting his position in the India XI at risk.

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“Listen, when Kohli comes back and other guys come back [KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja] and these are the days these boys are going to look back and go, ‘oh why did I not get a hundred? I had the opportunity to get the hundred’. And when you are sloppy like that, getting out doesn’t impress me at all,” he said. “You got to really grab the game by the scruff of its neck and say I am not letting go here. I am afraid to say with Shreyas it all seems a bit too sloppy. Sloppy is the word.”

With Iyer's struggle against shorter deliveries are well documented and England, especially James Anderson, looked to exploit his weakness as he dished out a couple of overs filled with such deliveries with fielders in the deep. The India batter looked to play the pull shot initially, playing the ball down, before he began shuffling down to the leg side to flat bat it through the off. And the change of tactic came with its fair share of risk. In his first attempt, he almost dragged it on the stumps, leaving England players amused.

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Iyer was expected to be at home against the spinners given his stunning record against the variety in Test cricket. But he resolved to a similar technique against the likes of Hartley, Shoaib Bashir and Joe Root, which left Pietersen furious as he raised the issue at Tea break on Day 1 of the second Test.

“When he is facing up to the bowler, he is jogging his leg out to leg side and then comes back to just defend the ball. You go to show some more intent than leg out there. If you really want to make a go and put pressure on the bowler, this (gestures the leg-side shuffling movement) doesn’t put the pressure on the bowler. It does nothing to the bowler. You got to show more intent," he said.

When the replays were shown yet again, with the presenter wondering if the shuffling technique was to unsettle the bowlers, Pietersen shot back, calling it an unnecessary approach.

“On this wicket, why are you doing that? That’s my question: what’s the point in doing that? What you are doing is you are messing yourself up, losing where your stumps are as a batter . I am more comfortable if you are coming towards the bowler, this here does nothing for me. He has the ability to play some very good shots. But the soft dismissals are horrible. In this form of cricket, you got to be hungry and have desire,” Pietersen said.

“And when you get out in the way he got out, I am afraid to say it’s sloppy. Today’s innings didn’t impress me at all. Because I want people in my dressing room that are more hungry than that.”

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