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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

India vs West Indies: Learnt to work smart, not just work hard -Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer can be a good prospect for India in the middle-order and the young Mumbai batsman is well aware of the challenges at hand.

cricket Updated: Jul 29, 2019 09:03 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
File image of Shreyas Iyer
File image of Shreyas Iyer(PTI)
         

The West Indies tour will mark the beginning of an incredibly tough competition for the much-debated No 4 slot in limited-overs format. And Shreyas Iyer, who is back in contention along with Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant and even Shubman Gill, faces a tough ask. In an interview, the aggressive Mumbai batsman says he is ready for the challenge as India look for a long-term solution to fix middle-order.

Excerpts:

How do you see your improvement and chances as a batsman set for the No 4 position in ODIs?

I have worked really hard on my batting in the past couple of seasons, and I feel much more comfortable on the field now. I know what my strengths are, and I have worked really hard on my weaknesses as well. There has been a lot of talk about the No 4 position, but a modern day batsman should be able to bat in any position because the game has evolved so much.

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Has the wait been frustrating?

Well, the selectors make the decisions that they make for a certain reason. You have got to respect that and do your own thing—which is work hard and strive to be better. Sooner or later your time will come. I have learnt now to work smart, not just work hard, and I am really looking forward to wearing the India shirt again.

What happened that you were not able to cement your place in the side?

Well, international cricket is a different grind altogether. Looking back at the time when I first played for India, I feel I was raw. There was so much more for me to learn and adjust and mature, which is something I have in me now, I feel. As a batsman, I have improved. As a captain—whenever and wherever I have got the opportunity—be it for Mumbai, Delhi Capitals or India A, I have grown. Now that I’ve got the opportunity to represent the country again, I want to make it count.

What lessons do you take from that earlier stint?

Like I said, it definitely made me more aware as a cricketer. And of course when you are in the team with India’s best players, there is so much to learn from each and every one of them. I am looking forward to the upcoming stint in the Caribbean.

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How do ‘A’ tours help prepare for bigger challenges knowing there is still a gap between the quality of ‘A’ teams and national teams?

‘A’ tours can be considered as a stepping stone to getting into the national team, so they are really important. When it comes to batting, I think these tours have helped me a lot. When you go out to play in different conditions against different bowlers, it is always challenging. Another aspect that we need to keep in mind is that bowlers are also looking to produce the kind of performances that will help them cement a place in their respective national teams, so it is obviously a very good test for batsmen.

What is the most important aspect of your preparation as a batsman? Apart from batting in nets, do you also indulge in other methods such as visualisation?

I think we all visualise a lot when we think about the dreams we need to achieve. I remember when I was a kid, I would visualise wearing the India colours and walking on the field in front of an amazing atmosphere, and I feel it has helped me a lot throughout my career. You do practice in the nets, talk to your coaches and work on your skills. But you also need to prepare yourself mentally, and not just physically.

How has leadership responsibility with Delhi Capitals helped you evolve as a player and captain?

The first season, captaincy was given to me midway, and I had big shoes to fill. This season with the Delhi Capitals I was named captain for the entire season, which was a massive honour. I can definitely say captaincy helped me improve a lot as a batsman. In the second season, especially towards the second half, when it was the race to the playoffs, I felt I was communicating better with my players during the match.

Who do you think are the toughest bowlers to face in international cricket?

It would have to be Kagiso Rabada, who I had the opportunity of working with so closely with for Delhi Capitals, and Jasprit Bumrah. They are both very complete bowlers and have everything a modern day fast bowler should have.

First Published: Jul 29, 2019 08:32 IST

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