The last two years have seen Shreyas Iyer become an integral part of the Indian Test side, not just at home but also outside India. Iyer recently played in the two-Test series against South Africa and has now appeared in 12 Tests, with all of them coming in the last 2.5 years.
However, despite a pretty good record (707 runs @ 39.27 with one century), the prospect of KL Rahul playing as a specialist batter against England is set to mount pressure on the right-hander, who will be fighting for a spot in the XI, alongside Rahul and Shubman Gill, should the management slot-in KS Bharat as a specialist wicket-keeper.
Iyer has done ‘enough’ to warrant an extended run but such is the cut-throat competition in India, especially when it comes to middle-order batting spots.
It’s not an ideal situation for anyone, considering individuals are always on the edge, but Iyer, speaking on the back of Mumbai’s Ranji encounter against Andhra, asserted that he embraces the competition for spots, since it tends to get the best out of every individual involved.
"It's fun. I love competition, and when competition is there, you face more challenges. And that's what I thrive on personally,” Iyer said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
“So I enjoy having competition around because then you can go at each other and also against the opponents to show your talent and skills."
Last week, the 29-year-old was axed from the T20I side, and at this stage, the prospect of him playing the T20 World Cup in June looks slim. But the right-hander said that, despite the axe, he’s not been left disappointed since he is ‘living in the present’, taking it game by game.
His immediate focus, Iyer revealed, is the first two Tests against England.
"See, right now I'm being in the present,” Iyer said.
“I've finished the match which I was asked to play, I came, and I executed, so I'm happy with what I'm doing. Something that is not in my control, I can't be focusing on that. Coming here and winning the match was my focus and that's what we did today.
"It's important to take one match at a time, not think about five-match Test series. The team is only for the first two games. The motto would be to perform in the first two games and then look forward to the rest of the games."
This week, Iyer played his first Ranji match for Mumbai in 5 years and had a satisfactory outing, scoring a run-a-ball 48. Despite not getting a big score, he looked sharp and fluent.
The 29-year-old revealed that his aim, heading into the contest, was to build match fitness by spending time on the field, and claimed that he got what he wanted from the encounter.
"It wasn't a turning track, to be honest, he said of the Andhra game.
"I'm assuming that we would be getting turning wickets against England. But other than that, it was just for my match fitness, to stay on the field as long as possible, that's what mainly I was focusing on because especially after my injury it has been tough for me to stick on the outfield for long. So this was great practice for me."