Shreyas Iyer: ‘I just played on my natural instincts’

Shreyas Iyer recognised a “good wicket” at the Ferozeshah Kotla to carve out a scintillating century, albeit in a losing cause for India B against India C in the Deodhar Trophy 2018 final.

Shreyas Iyer single handedly kept India B in the chase with a blistering century. (FILE PHOTO)   -  Sudhakara Jain

Nearly half the runs India B managed while chasing in the Deodhar Trophy final arrived via the bat of captain Shreyas Iyer. The 23-year-old single-handedly kept his team in the hunt in the latter half of his team’s innings despite running out of partners but fell at a crucial juncture – in the 43rd over.

Forty-four were needed from 41 deliveries – a fairly manageable required run-rate of 7.18. Yet the contest was virtually over as the seventh wicket had fallen and only the lower-order batsmen were left to bat.

Speaking to mediapersons after the contest, Iyer reflected on his whirlwind knock. “I just played on my natural instincts because the wicket was really supportive and even the bowlers were hitting good lengths, but at the same time, we were easily able to rotate the strike. I just decided that I [would] be batting till the 40th over and after that, ‘let’s take the momentum from there on’,” he said.

He rued his dismissal that ended the last piece of resistance for his side. “When you get so close, I could have easily taken a single [on the ball that got me out] but in that flow I literally went for a six again,” he said.

“[But] at least I got the score till 320, it [was] really positive for me as well as for the team; otherwise if we were [attempting big hits] from the first ball itself we would have ended for 150,” he added.

Iyer praised the opposition for putting up a huge total. Talking about the two century-makers in the contest besides him, he said, “They played really well. They got a great start with Ishan Kishan. Once he gets going it’s really tough to stop him. And on the other hand, if Ajinkya Rahane is there, you know that he’s going to bat till the end. He’s going to grind it out so when this combination was there on the wicket, I knew that the score is definitely going to be high.”

Iyer admitted he was focussed on performing well in the final, knowing it was important for him to do so. Iyer declared he wasn’t unduly distracted by the news of his selection - it was announced ahead of the Deodhar Trophy final - in the India Twenty20 squad for the series against Windies and Australia, and the India A one-day squad for the tour of New Zealand.

“I didn’t react when I got selected. I was just the way I am. I was focussing on the match. I knew that it was going to be a really important match for me. If you get a good knock over here, you’re well recognised and selectors always have an eye on you,” he said.

He reasoned, “I don’t think much about the selection. It’s not in my hands. My job is to keep making runs and lately I’ve been focussing on that. It used to really play with my mind but now I’ve just started to forget those things and keeping doing what I did in the past, just maintaining that.”

Iyer recognised the competition for batting spots for India’s teams across formats. “When we [play for] the India A team, [it is because] all of us are performing well in the domestic circuit. Our main aim is to enjoy each other’s success. When [Kishan] came [to the dugout] after batting, all of us were really happy that he got a hundred. We go and cheer them up,” he said.

“It’s a great thing when there is competition, when there is challenge. Only the ones who are determined to score runs and who want to get to the higher circuit will definitely deliver. All of us are in that zone currently,” he signed off.