Shreyas Iyer, scoring his maiden ODI century against New Zealand in the first ODI at Hamilton, once again proved his mettle in the middle order for India. In his own words, his success has come owing to his flexible batting positions between Nos. 3 to 5 for the India A team, where he learned the art of tackling various situations.
Iyer scored 103 from 107 balls, hitting 11 fours and a six before being dismissed by New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner. He helped India to a fighting total of 347, but owing to Tom Latham and Ross Taylor’s performances, the hosts chased down the target and won the match by four wickets.
“In India A, it’s not that I have to bat number four all the time. You keep changing your position depending on what is the situation. I got to manoeuvre my place from 3 to 5, I kept changing (batting order). It’s just that we get good practice there and you face different opposition as well so you get used to the atmosphere,” said Iyer.
For someone who had to wait for his opportunity to cement his place in the senior team, the interim duration spent on A tours was an important learning curve.
“India A games have always been helpful for me personally because whenever I used to go there, I used to make sure that as many matches I got, I have to make the best use of it and the players and the atmosphere is also amazing. You literally have no pressure,” Iyer said about the team mentored by NCA director Rahul Dravid.
“And coming from the top arena (senior) to one level below (A team) doesn’t make you feel that you are completely away from the team but you always see similar faces around you. I really enjoy that atmosphere like I said,” he said.
Iyer scored his maiden ODI hundred but Indian bowlers failed to defend a target of 348 with Ross Taylor scoring a match-winning hundred. With six half-centuries and a hundred with an average of 48 plus in 16 ODIs, Iyer has had a good time in the Indian middle order.
“I am very happy but would have been happier if we could have finished the game on a winning note. First of many (centuries) I hope, so I would take this in my stride and try to make sure that next time, I finish on the winning side,” Iyer said at the post-match press conference.
Asked about the nature of track, Iyer said:”It was stopping and coming. There wasn’t any variable bounce on the wicket. We just decided that we needed to take this phase and build a partnership.
“I’m really happy the way I planned my innings. I was keeping my patience and I had that self-belief that once I cross that certain mark, I will be able to cover up for all the dot balls I faced and I was really happy,” he explained his gameplan.
He felt that batting did become easier in the second innings.
“If you see, the wicket had improved quite a bit in the second innings. The ball was coming on to the bat and the dew factor played an important role too in this game. They batted really well, and you have to give them credit.
“If you look at it, 348 is not an easy chase but the way they planned their innings, with one guy anchoring it and the rest playing cameos. Credit to them for the way they scored, and it was a very good win for them,” he added.
(with PTI inputs)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines