The Curious Case Of Shreyas Iyer, A Test Cricketer

image-lsllm47lShreyas Iyer (AP Photos)

Shreyas Iyer is all of 29. He has played, if you actually note, just 14 Test matches. That’s about it. Just 14, lest it is forgotten. 6 of these innings have resulted in a fifty-something score. 

When he arrived on the big scene of Test match cricket, he did so with a bang, scoring a magnificent century against the BlackCaps. 

And here he is. 

Not the best of times for Iyer

Shreyas Iyer is another batsman in the current firmament of Indian cricket who’s having more being said about him and his availability to the team than his efforts. 

And that is when it isn’t that he has flopped badly or emerged as some sort of a flog who just couldn’t score. 

The Shreyas Iyer story before the entire storm began to brew surround his match fitness and readiness for further representation in the series (which, well is far from over), the scores that Shreyas Iyer managed against England read: 27 and 29 on a Vizag pitch that emerged a fast bowler’s paradise. 

Previously, he’d scored 35 at Hyderabad before missing out in that Test’s other inning in scoring a 13

But even as other more established or preeminent names in Indian cricket such as Rohit Sharma, with much due respect, have scored similar scores, it is Iyer who’s copped lots of criticism. 

Though in truth, Shreyas Iyer’s had a genuine problem at his end, not a manufactured one, with regard to the back spasms he experienced in the recent Test, despite which he was given medical clearance to play.  

Struggles with defence

Quite frankly, with talks emerging that his technique at defending, the way it is at the moment, is far from desirable, one can’t help but note a basic underlying truth about Iyer and his utility to the Indian team. 

Surely, if he’s missing out in waning out attacks, especially the mean fast bowlers that keep batsmen from the big runs, then he ought to work on that. No two ways about that. 

But it also ought to be said that for someone who has barely played half a dozen games at Cricket’s highest level, being dropped, which is what one presumes has happened with Shreyas Iyer, it may just dent his confidence to an extent. 

For he’s clearly not supremely unfit to play any further part in the series, which if you think about it, hangs on the knife’s edge with each team winning a game apiece. 

A growing list of injuries 

What Iyer would’ve added and added quite nicely would’ve been runs that his Indian team needs now that a further blow has been earned in the form of KL Rahul’s injury. Rahul could play but he still has to get on top of the quad niggle. 

Furthermore, Jadeja’s name also features in the list of the injured owing to a hamstring struggle. 

With Virat Kohli already not there and absent from the series on the whole, Shreyas Iyer would undoubtedly have liked to play the role of a senior member given someone like Rohit Sharma (who’s already in search of big runs) who have sought contribution. And here we are. 

Besides, Indian cricket is already battling a predicament of sorts in that there’s been a recent situation with Ishan Kishan. 

Surely, if Iyer can’t move about and is really injured or unwell, his dropping makes sense. Provided they’ve decided some miraculous cure instead and made the call to “drop” him. 

But if Iyer hasn’t actually been seriously unwell, if supposing his back spams are behind him, then should he not be played? 

India have their own share of problems Against England 

Gladly for India, Shubman Gill, who had hitherto been lacking runs, just made a century. He’ll be expected to carry on. 

But it ought to be answered how it helps to have someone as legendary and thoughtful as Sir Ian Chappell question Iyer by exclaiming in the event of his ouster, “Hopefully, selectors will now stop overestimating his capability!” 

This isn’t a batsman who’s played a lion’s share of Test cricket. His average of 36 doesn’t cut an ugly portrait. 

Not someone who’d have liked the way he’s been treated 

Moreover, this is a batsman who readily repaid the faith of his selectors by scoring a ton on debut against a trio of Southee, Jamieson and Patel.  

Surely, Iyer’s been missing out on big runs. But was his recent form absolutely wretched?