Shreyas Iyer: Flexible middle-order batting for India A helped settle at No 4

Iyer scored his maiden ODI hundred but India failed to defend a target of 348 against New Zealand in the series opener on Wednesday.

Shreyas Iyer has hit a purple patch against New Zealand.

Shreyas Iyer has hit a purple patch against New Zealand.   -  AFP

Shreyas Iyer now owns the No 4 slot in white-ball cricket but the success has come thanks to his flexible batting positions between Nos 3 to 5 for the India A team, where he learnt the art of tackling various match situations.

Iyer scored his maiden ODI hundred but India failed to defend a target of 348 against New Zealand in the series opener on Wednesday.

With six half-centuries and a hundred at an average of 48 in 16 ODIs, Iyer has had a fruitful run in the Indian middle-order. “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.

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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 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 have no pressure,” Iyer said about the team mentored by NCA director Rahul Dravid.

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“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,” he said.

Iyer scored an eye-catching 103 off 107 balls but Indian bowlers failed to defend a target of 348 with Ross Taylor scoring a match-winning hundred.

“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.

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The right-hander had a 102-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli and 136-run partnership with KL Rahul.

Asked about the nature of the 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.

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