Shreyas Iyer knows competition for a spot in India’s batting lineup is fierce and the 28-year-old said he is prepared to bat anywhere for the hosts at the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
The stylish right-hander, who delivered a match-winning century in Sunday’s second one-dayer against Australia, had pretty much nailed down the number four position until suffering a lower back injury in March that required surgery.
Things did not go smoothly on his return. Picked for the Asia Cup squad, he missed much of India’s successful campaign due to a back spasm. But Iyer proved his worth on Sunday with a 90-ball 105 to set up India’s series-clinching victory in Indore and was named Player of the Match.
With KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav also in strong form, Iyer said he would bat wherever India captain Rohit Sharma tells him to.
“I’m flexible about whatever number I’d be getting to bat,” Iyer, who is expected to retain his usual number four position in the World Cup, told reporters.
“(It’s) wherever the team requires at that point of time – if I have to go lower down the order, or up the order.
“There’s competition and that’s the best part about this team ... as a professional, I can’t be complaining about that.
“All I can say is I will embrace the opportunity that I’d be getting in future and leave no stone unturned in my preparation.”
Iyer averages 46-plus in ODIs with a healthy strike rate of 97.55 and the importance of his latest knock was not lost on the Mumbai batter.
“It was one of my finest innings, especially coming off injury. I was eagerly waiting to come and perform for the team. I keep telling myself my competition is against me. It’s about my mindset especially when the chips are down.”
India will look to complete a 3-0 series sweep when they take on Australia in the final ODI in Rajkot on Sunday.
Meanwhile Australian all-rounder Sean Abott admitted his team is struggling to bowl in the right areas in the two matches of the series.
“We’ve obviously just not executed as well as we would have liked,” Abbott said after the loss to India on Sunday.
“It’s all well and good to say that we’ll take learnings out of these games and stuff like that, but we do need to execute better as a whole.
“It showed today when we were bowling, and it was a little bit the same in South Africa as well, as soon as we missed the stumps we were punished,” he added. “Although we went for 400 again (in the second ODI), I thought the death bowling was pretty good,” Abbott said. “It can still be improved a lot. But like I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, our execution and bringing those stumps into play, owning our lengths and putting pressure on the batters that way certainly has to improve and I have no doubt that we’ve got a very skilled attack.”
Shreyas Iyer (Illustration by Reynold/Gulf Times)