Shreyas, rediscovering faith in himself

The Mumbai batsman is back in contention for a place in the National team.

His time with the India ‘A’ team under batting legend Rahul Dravid has helped Shreyas Iyer evolve.   -  M. Vedhan

There was a time this season when negative thoughts crept into Shreyas Iyer’s mind. A natural, who galloped on his skill, he was being consumed by a lack of belief.

“I became superstitious, began to blame other things for not scoring runs, it was just not me,” he confessed during a chat with Sportstar here on Friday.

The 22-year-old Shreyas needed to banish the demon of self-doubt.

In the city as part of the Mumbai team for the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament which gets underway on Saturday, Shreyas revealed he resorted to meditation, breathing exercises and reading autobiographies of sports heroes such as A.B. de Villiers and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to rediscover faith in himself.

And soon he was amongst the runs. After a lacklustre season by his standards —he has 3366 runs at 55.18 in 38 first-class matches — Shreyas found his mojo in the Ranji final where his second innings 82 against Gujarat in Indore was all about balance and timing off either foot.

The strokeful right-hander followed that up with a 100 for India ‘A’ against Bangladesh in Hyderabad. Then the big one arrived — an unbeaten 202 against the visiting Australians in Mumbai.

Value of temperament

He said, “My preparation for that innings was spot on. Before that innings, I faced every ball in practice as if I was playing a match.” Shreyas now comprehends the value of temperament.

And he is back in contention for a place in the Indian team. “In the past, I used to think about an India spot and that used to put pressure on me. Now, I just want to keep my mind free, enjoy my cricket,” Shreyas said.

His time with the India ‘A’ team under batting legend Rahul Dravid has helped Shreyas evolve. “He did not change my technique, just told me to go out there and play my natural game.”

Asked about areas he has improved as a batsman, Shreyas replied. “It’s my cricketing awareness, of the pitch, the conditions and the bowlers.”

On his strengths as a batsman, he said, “The ability to manipulate the field and put the loose balls away for boundaries.”

Off the field, he listens to Ed Sheeran and Hip Hop music, is motivated by movies such as Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

For the scintillating Shreyas, an India place is well within reach.