Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 will be the first time that young Shreyas Iyer will lead the Delhi Capitals as a full-time captain. Last year, Iyer was appointed as the skipper mid-way through the tournament when Gautam Gambhir relinquished captaincy. But in season, 12 of the IPL, the 24-year-old from Mumbai is confident of the leading the Capitals to success and also remains optimistic of his chances in the Indian national cricket team.
“In IPL if I get a great start then it could really impact the selections. Selectors will be thinking twice about me. That’s what I am really looking forward to. But I have been doing well in all formats, not just IPL. So definitely this IPL they will be looking,” said Iyer.
“Gagan Khoda spoke to me and said that I have been doing well and asked me to keep up the consistency. Never spoke to me about the selection process or something, he was just talking about the present that time,” he said. “Every player wants to play for the country, that is the eventual goal. I was disappointed when I was dropped and fairly not getting chances. But when your teams doing well that’s more important. But for now, the focus is on IPL and leading Delhi to glory.”
On his comment of players like him needing rest, Iyer said that he stands by what he had said earlier. “I said whatever I felt at that time. I was even more frustrated as I was stuck in traffic. It was an honest answer,” he said.
Changing fortunes for Delhi Capitals
The Capitals are a squad full of stars on paper but if there is one team which knows how momentum could swing everything in the opposite direction then it is Delhi.
“For now the team is looking amazing. But as we all know that the main idea is to replicate that on the ground. Last year we weren’t getting great starts with the openers. But as the tournament progressed we started winning and that helped us get a few positives. So we sat down and analyzed what went wrong and are now happy with what we have. In case anyone gets injured or leaves mid-way we have an equally good bench strength with 25 players in the squad. A lot of newcomers are among them and they will be looking to give their best,” Iyer said.
But there are a few differences that Iyer does see this time around as compared to the 2018 squad. “I see that in my jersey colour (laughs),” he said.
“The Team management is new and there is a mindset of positivity which is lately spreading around. People are believing in each other. Management plays an important role as they need to be motivating (irrespective of the result). This time we have it,” Iyer explained.
In the previous seasons, Delhi was a side known for its explosive youngsters but this season they also have proven performers like Shikhar Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada and Colin Imgram among their ranks. But approaching the seniors has never been an issue for the 24-year-old.
“I have played with them and personally, I know them really well. So doesn’t make that job difficult to go and get the best out of them. I am very well aware of their approach and mindset,” he said.
“Shikhar Dhawan is a very funny guy and good to be around. So I am really happy that he is a part of our team and looking forward to learning from him. He is a local lad and youngsters can reap the benefits from him,” he added.
What Mushtaq Ali did for Iyer?
On a personal front, Iyer said that scoring heavily in the domestic circuit has helped him prepare better for the IPL. His phenomenal knock of 155 (47 balls) became a domestic T20 record as he eclipsed the previous best of 128 not out by Rishabh Pant.
“It really helps for a batsman coming on the back of a really great tournament (Syed Mushtaq Ali). If you have runs backing you up before an event like IPL then you are confident and have the self-belief that no matter whatever situation the team is stuck in you will get the best out of yourself and make sure that team wins. That’s what Mushtaq Ali did for me- I got a great start against Sikkim and I continued the same throughout,” Iyer said.
Taking the responsibility of leadership has also helped Iyer evolve as a player. “It has really helped me well. It has made me more mature in my approach, made me responsible the way I approach my innings. I see my teammates and support staff looking up to me when I get this role, I have evolved over the years and am really thankful to all those who believed in me,” he concluded.