Iyer: 'I will play my natural game'

Shreyas Iyer may have focussed on altering his batting style for more graft this season, but he is intent to "play [his] natural game" for the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Tamil Nadu.

Vivek Bendre

Shreyas Iyer had piled on runs in the Ranji Trophy 2014-15 season and the Indian Premier League (IPL) season that followed. After a lull with the India A setup, Iyer came back to better his earlier exploits in the last season of the Ranji Trophy and the 2016 IPL.

Still, Iyer was >overlooked for the tour of Zimbabwe .

The reason: Most selectors back then felt that Iyer was a one-dimensional player. The aggressive batsman, who had tallied more than 2,000 runs over the previous two Ranji seasons, at close to run-a-ball thus started focussing more on tempering down his instincts. While it has resulted in him occupying the crease a little longer, it has also cost him the big runs.

As a result, his tally of 553 runs from 14 innings – despite being Mumbai’s highest – ranks nowhere to get him back in the national reckoning. “I was focussing on defending the ball. Everyone used to say that I am playing a lot of shots. This year, I was really focussing on defending, which I have done quite well. I am leaving a few balls, I have played more balls than previous years, so there are positives also in that which I can take further,” Iyer said on the eve of Mumbai’s Ranji >semifinal against Tamil Nadu .

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“I heard it from all the coaches. Selectors also told me ‘you have to play a few more balls; you have to see to it that you carry on the innings; try to play as many balls as possible’. I was trying to do that and it worked out well. [I'm] still figuring out shot selection.”

Shedding the skin

However, with the business end of the tournament coming up, Iyer has decided to shed the skin that he has been wearing for the last three months and get back to what he has been doing the best.

“I have been focussing more on my technique, which I shouldn’t do at this moment. Right now, I have totally forgotten about that and I am just going to play my natural [game]. As I did last year – [I] backed my instincts and [went] with the flow. That’s what I am going to follow. And play according to the situation,” he said.

If he can translate words into action over the next five days, he would have done a lot of good for himself and his team.