IND vs NZ: Veteran KKR player defends Shreyas Iyer after flop show, says 'fault Suryakumar or Rohit'
- Shreyas Iyer was dismissed cheaply on 5 off 8 balls.
Team India got off to a decent start in the home series against New Zealand, winning the first T20I by five wickets. The team successfully chased down New Zealand's 164/6 as Suryakumar Yadav starred with a 40-ball 62, helping India wrap up the contest with two balls to spare.
Despite Suryakumar's brilliant effort and Rohit Sharma leading with a 36-ball 48 the match went right till the wire as wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer failed to strike the ball as they are renowned for.
Shreyas was dismissed cheaply on 5(8), while Pant scored at run a ball, fetching 17 runs and helping his side through in the fourth delivery of the final over.
Venkatesh Iyer too got a chance in the middle as the IPL star walked out to bat at a time when India required 10 in the final over. The 26-year-old kicked-off his international debut with a cracking four in the mid-wicket region but was dismissed in the following delivery when he tried to sweep the ball over the fine-leg fielder inside the 30-yard circle.
After the contest, Kolkata Knight Riders player Dinesh Karthik came out in support of Shreyas and Venkatesh and said that the duo won't question their performance, crediting the newly appointed coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit as the reason behind it.
"Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer, the middle-order batsmen that didn't look as good as they would have if they had played a long innings, won't feel so judged in this dressing room. Both the coach and the captain have seen a lot of failures and that is the biggest advantage these boys will have in the dressing room. They'll feel rather calm and they'll know it's just one game... Sometimes you can feel judged and you question that 'Am I good enough for this level?' I think those questions won't be the ones they'll answer so early. It will be a very calm and easygoing dressing room," Karthik noted while speaking to Cricbuzz after the match.
He also defended Shreyas for not being able to strike, explaining the India middle-order came at a stage when the team needed big hits. Karthik infact thought the quick dismissals of Rohit and Suryakumar put the team under pressure and if someone was at fault it was them.
"You can't fault Shreyas Iyer for doing it because at that stage you want boundaries. If it's not there to be hit then you probably try and hit a cut shot, a flick shot, or a cover drive but your first instinct is to hit it for a six straight over the bowler's head or over deep mid-wicket... If you have to go by results you can fault Surya or Rohit but if you go by process I think all of them played the right shots..." he added.
India currently have a 1-0 advantage in the three-match series and will hope to maintain the winning momentum in the following two contests, which will be played on November 19 and 21 in Ranchi and Kolkata respectively.