Playing attacking cricket is young Iyer's mantra

Playing attacking cricket is young Iyer's mantra

Playing attacking cricket is young Iyer's mantra
Shreyas Iyer was the find of the Indian Premier League last year. His franchise, Delhi Daredevils were struggling to keep their heads above water, but the young Mumbai batsman attracted attention with his fluent and attacking stroke play. The 21-year-old says the aggression in his batting comes naturally to him and he likes the idea of intimidating the bowlers.

Iyer’s strike rate has been a standout feature in his game be it T20, where it averages 130.94, or the first-class cricket where it stands at an impressive 83.91. In his phenomenal graph of last two years, the Tamil-speaking Mumbaikar finished his debut Ranji season last year as the highest run-getter for his side and then became the top run scorer for Daredevils (439 runs) to bag emerging Player of the Year award.

This season he played a key role in spurring Mumbai to their 41st Ranji Trophy title, amassing 1321 runs from 11 matches, all at the astonishing strike rate of 92.70. His century in the final against Saurashtra only made the experience better.

“I like playing attacking cricket since my early days. My first century came at a club level in 41 balls. I think I began to take my cricket seriously from under-12 days though I didn’t have that much strength that time.

“I slowly began to strike the ball well. I like to back my instincts, go on top of the ball and intimidate the bowler,” Iyer told Deccan Herald.

Iyer’s run feast this season had left him just 95 runs short of VVS Laxman’s record of most runs in a domestic season. He, however, wasn’t too bothered. He was already focused on IPL and aware that he would be watched this time around. “It was fantastic to be a part of Mumbai victory and scoring a century. I wasn’t looking for any record. I had only focused on bettering my record from last year and I am glad that happened. IPL has been a great platform. Facing top international bowlers like Mitchell Starc and Dale Steyn at 140 kmph gave me a lot of confidence. Also, there was no pressure on me and I played freely. It was great to have seniors like Zaheer Khan, JP Duminy and others who encouraged me. I know this time I would need to be more responsible,” said top-order batsman Iyer, who admires AB de Villiers.

His talent drew the interest of coach Rahul Dravid who motivated him during his leaned patch with India ‘A’. Dravid is also the mentor of Daredevils this season, and Iyer finds him the most composed cricketer.

“With Rahul sir, you don’t know whether you are talking to a cricketer or a coach. He is so calm and composed and allows you to play freely. He is always there to help. Before the season started he came to me on his own and asked me not to lose heart for not getting runs in the first season and stick to my process,” he said.

The Daredevils were off to a losing start this season but Iyer was hopeful of better days in store. “The team has been changed, so it will take some time to gel. But we are working towards it, and approaching it positively,” he said.
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