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I keep telling myself that the competition is against me: Shreyas Iyer

Last updated on 25 Sep 2023 | 05:16 AM
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I keep telling myself that the competition is against me: Shreyas Iyer

The 28-year-old made a statement by smashing an authoritative century in the second ODI against Australia

Shreyas Iyer has been one of India’s best batters in the 50-over format since the last ODI World Cup, but a back injury and other players doing in the middle-order put his spot in jeopardy for a while. The 28-year-old, however, made a statement on Sunday (September 24) by smashing an authoritative century in the second ODI against Australia.

The right-handed batter looked in glorious touch in his comeback game against Pakistan earlier this month but unfortunately slammed one straight into the hands of the fielder. He had to miss a couple of games due to back spasm and in his absence, KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan got runs in the middle-order.

With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli rested for the first two ODIs against Australia, Iyer got a chance to bat at No. 3 but was run-out just for three runs in the first game. But he did make up in the second encounter, smoking 105 off 90 deliveries. Iyer has always been a confident player and said he always had the belief in his abilities.

Also read: Iyer writes his name on the number four spot with exuberant ton

“I was desperate to come back and come back strong. I was waiting to convert these starts, which I got in the previous games. Today I got the opportunity, and I am grateful,” said Iyer after India defeated Australia by 99 runs and sealed the series with a game to go.

“To be honest, I was not doubting my abilities because I knew I was batting brilliantly in the nets, also the start I got against Pakistan. Just a matter of one innings and I knew it was around the corner, thankfully I was able to execute.

“It was definitely a roller coaster ride. I would like to thank myself, to be honest, for believing in my abilities and mindset at that point of time. I was feeling a bit lonely but thanks to my physios, my trainers, my family, they backed me, and I am grateful to have them around.

"I keep telling myself competition is against me. It is about the mindset that I maintain, especially when the chips are down. My mind was fluctuating at times but I was trying to stay away from the outside noise. As they say, ignorance is bliss so taking one step at a time and staying in the present and not thinking about what happened and what will happen in the future."

Iyer has phenomenal numbers in this format since 2022, averaging almost 50 in 21 innings. The middle-order batter has slammed 940 runs at a strike rate of 95.2 and is India’s second-highest run-getter in this period after Shubman Gill, with whom he put on a 200-run partnership on Sunday. 

"It was one of my finest innings, especially coming out of an injury. I was eagerly waiting to come back and perform for the team. All these game we are getting before the World Cup, it is a good platform for us, especially me as I have not got a lot of games under my belt.

“Yes, Shubman Gill is in tremendous form lately and the way he is converting his starts is simply phenomenal. In the World Cup, we will be needing such starts and he is in a great mind space, the routines that he has been maintaining throughout travelling and recovery."

Australia have looked completely out of place in this series but Iyer feels they are treating these games as practice for the showpiece event. “We know how the Australian team is. The way they plan their stuff, I am sure they are playing these games as practice games and they want to build momentum going forward.

"At the same time, they play challenging cricket, I am sure they would be planning well in the future games against India and also when I come in to bat. We are never going to take them lightly, they can hurt you at times."

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