Monday, May 23, 2022

Shreyas Iyer Now Needs To Prove His Red-Ball Credentials in IND Vs NZ Test At Kanpur

This two-match India vs New Zealand series will be a great opportunity for a young man like Shreyas Iyer to impress the national selectors and take his Test career forward.

Shreyas Iyer Now Needs To Prove His Red-Ball Credentials in IND Vs NZ Test At Kanpur
Shreyas Iyer kisses his maiden India Test cap on Thursday morning at Kanpur's Green Park. Sunil Gavaskar handed the cap to Iyer. BCCI

Shreyas Iyer will make his Test debut for India against New Zealand in the first Test at Kanpur's Green Park on Thursday. With Rahul Dravid, one of India's greatest top-order batsmen sitting in the dressing room, and the Indian cricket team in search for the next generation of Test cricketers, the setting is just perfect for the 26-year-old Iyer.

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In recent times, the Indian team management has stopped the habit of giving surprises when it comes to team selection. On Wednesday, India’s stand-in-captain Ajinkya Rahane confirmed Shreyas Iyer will be making his Test debut in Kanpur.

Shreyas Iyer will be the third youngster to win his India cap in this current series against New Zealand. Venkatesh Iyer and Harshal Patel made their debuts during the T20 series that India won 3-0.

KL Rahul's absence, the Karnataka batsman had a thigh injury that the selectors did not know when they picked the Test squad, opened the gates for Shreyas Iyer. Expect more of this with Dravid as head coach. One of the reasons for the former Indian captain to become a coach is to create India's backup cricketers for all formats of the game.

This series is a season of opportunity for several players who have come up through the ranks, domestic cricket and IPL. India will be looking for more and more all-format players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja.

It can be expected that Shreyas Iyer will bat in the middle order. While Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are expected to open the innings, Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Iyer should complete the top five.

So who is Shreyas Iyer, the batsman?

Iyer, who led IPL team Delhi Capitals until an injury sidelined him in 2021, has been impressive in the limited-overs format. The right-hander has played 22 ODIs and 32 T20 internationals scoring 813 and 580 runs, respectively.

Iyer's only international century came against New Zealand in an ODI in 2020. Since his debut in 2017, Iyer more or less picks himself in India's limited-overs squad. Not it's time to prove his caliber in the longest format.

Iyer's red-ball cricket record is impressive. He made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai in the 2014-15 season and scored 809 runs including two centuries and six fifties.

In the next season, Iyer did even better. With four centuries and seven fifties, Shreyas Iyer became the top-scorer of the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy with 1321 runs. He also became the second player to score more than 1300 runs in a single Ranji Trophy season.

Iyer’s highest first-class score was 202 not out that came against a visiting Australia side in a three-day practice match in Mumbai. In first-class cricket, Iyer averages 52.18 and scores them at a strike rate of 81.54 per 100 balls.

Shreyas Iyer has tasted a New Zealand attack in 2017, scoring 108 and 82 in the two unofficial Tests in Vijayawada. Iyer even led Delhi Capitals to the runners-up finish in the IPL 2020 in UAE.


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