Shreyas Iyer laments lack of consistent opportunities in the Indian team


After spending considerable time on the sidelines, Shreyas Iyer has been included in India’s T20I and ODI squads for the West Indies series. As India’s No.4 spot awaits its rightful successor, an in-form Iyer would hope to seal it with his name.

In an interview with PTI, the 24-year-old has expressed disappointment over youngsters not getting a continued run of opportunities in the Indian team. Iyer has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuit but still hasn’t been able to stamp his authority.

“If you are really a good talent, then you need a certain amount of chances to prove yourself and get acclimatised to the conditions,” he said to PTI. “If you keep coming in and going out [of the team], it doesn’t really set a good pattern for one’s self and you start disbelieving yourself.”

A promising start

The right-handed batsman made his ODI debut in 2017 against Sri Lanka, batting at the coveted No.3 position. Two half-centuries in that series resulted in him playing another series against South Africa in 2018. This time, Iyer had to drop down the middle order. But he didn’t feature in another ODI after February last year, despite repeatedly proving his mettle with the bat. In 6 ODIs so far, Iyer has scored 210 runs at an impressive average of 42.

“Yes, you tend to lose patience but selection is not in your hands,” he said. “All you can do is perform, perform and perform and that is what I enjoy doing. You have to keep performing and keep showing people that you are capable of playing at the higher league. Once you get that sniff, you never look back.”

The unfulfilled World Cup dream

India’s middle-order conundrum continued even as the all-important World Cup approached. With Ambati Rayudu being left out, the No.4 position was once again an unsolved mystery. India went in with Vijay Shankar, who injured his toe. KL Rahul, who took his place, had to open in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence. Finally, it was Rishabh Pant flew in to bat at No.4. Iyer, who was expecting a call-up, was disappointed to miss out again.

“It was my dream to play the World Cup for my country. I know there are a few opportunities that I got but unfortunately the team combination was such that it didn’t demand me to be there.”

“There was a lot of buzz about me before the World Cup selection because I was consistent and aware about the hard work and smart work that I had put in. It will definitely reap benefits and help me in future when I play for India. I just kept myself positive and always in high spirits. It didn’t disturb me from inside at all. It was a dream to play the World Cup and I will play for sure in the future.”

A bright future

Shankar’s extended absence and MS Dhoni’s time off from the West Indies tour meant that the selectors had to look for replacements. They turned to Iyer as one of those, who was already in the Caribbean as part of the India A team. With 187 runs in 4 innings including 2 fifties, the Mumbai run machine will hope his form continues in the senior team.

“The A tour has always given me an opportunity to prove myself in the higher league as this is the stepping stone,” he said.

Earlier this year, his impressive captaincy stint guided the Delhi Capitals to their first playoff spot in the IPL since 2012. Under coach Ricky Ponting’s guidance, Iyer admitted he has worked on some aspects of his game, especially the pull shot.

“You have to always work on your batting as you are never perfect. I am working on my batting every day and trying to perfect a few shots that will help me score all around the world. Pull and sweep are two shots that can help me score runs outside India. These are two shots that can immediately put pressure back on bowlers,” he added.