How Shreyas Iyer reacted to T20 WC snobbery, setbacks show his mentality


Ahead of his team's Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Mumbai Indians (MI), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) assistant coach Abhishek Nayar hailed skipper Shreyas Iyer for his mental strength and approach positive outlook on life despite some ups and downs in recent years. months, which include an all-time great campaign in the ICC Cricket World Cup at home, back injuries, losing his central contract with the Indian team and having his commitment to cricket doubted with a red ball. MI and KKR will lock horns in a high-octane clash at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday. KKR are second in the points table, with six wins and three losses, giving them 12 points. They won their previous clash against Delhi Capitals. MI are in ninth place with three wins and seven losses, giving them just six points. They lost their previous match against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG).

The last few months have been mixed for Iyer. After missing IPL 2023 due to back surgery with the World Cup on his mind, the right-handed batter made his comeback during the Asia Cup, after which he continued to struggle with fitness issues physical. He made a comeback in the following series against Australia, scoring a century in one of the ODIs and cementing a middle-order place in the World Cup, where he broke numerous records.

After a difficult start to the tournament, Iyer hit his peak towards the end of the tournament, with half-centuries against Sri Lanka and South Africa and two successive centuries against the Netherlands and New Zealand, the latter arriving in the semi-final against the Indian archetype. the nemesis that had denied the Indian team a chance to win the ICC title for so long. His hundred, spread over 67 balls, was the fastest ever recorded in a World Championship knockout match. However, he was dismissed for just four runs in the final which India lost to Australia.

Iyer finished the tournament with 530 runs at an average of 66.25 with two centuries and three fifties, scoring the most runs by a middle-order batter in the history of the tournament and becoming the first-ever middle-order batter in the World Championship to touch the 500- race mark.

However, after that, Iyer had a disappointing Test outing in South Africa. He warmed up for the next Test challenge against England at home in January–March by playing a Ranji Trophy match, but he was left out of the remaining three Tests after poor scores in the first two Tests. He then missed the Ranji quarters due to back spasms, despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) directive not to skip it. But he returned for the semifinal and scored 95 points in the final, but missed significant playing time in the title clash due to back pain. However, despite playing a crucial role in Mumbai's 42nd triumph, Iyer's return to domestic red-ball cricket seemed a little too late as his name was removed from the BCCI's central contract list in FEBRUARY.

After that, Iyer joined hands with KKR and featured in all the matches so far, scoring 251 runs in nine matches at an average of 41.83 and strike rate of 137.15, with a half-century . Although he didn't speak the best, he still managed to score runs after the momentum was provided by top-order batters Phil Salt and Sunil Narine. Despite his efforts, he missed his chance to be selected for this year's ICC T20 World Cup in West Indies/USA from June 1.

Nayar, who has known Iyer since his early days playing domestic cricket for Mumbai, said Iyer was one of the strongest people he had met and had handled all his setbacks with a positive attitude. Despite all the setbacks, Iyer is excellent on the field, spending long hours in front of the nets, he added.

“He's one of the most mentally strong people I've ever known, just in terms of how he accepted certain things that happened to him. I would have seen a lot of people complaining and talking about it , but I didn't hear him complaining or complaining about it, the way he approached life is positive: what's in front of you, you try to accept it,” said. Nayar quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

“Some things are not in his control, but his fitness is in his control, and he feels much better now. He is excellent on the field, he is playing longer hours and he has been training very hard. Our S&C (strength and conditioning) and the physios have been working hard with him.”

“Mentally, having such a state of mind after being rejected or not getting his due, he took it in a very positive way. Even when he talks about it, he's not negative, he understands that 'He needs to go back and do well,' he said. concluded.

Nayar said that Iyer's mindset is to score runs, regardless of the team he plays for.

“He's looking to score points, it (his setbacks) affected him but the way he handled it, well done to him because I imagine a lot of people react very differently to him,” concluded the coach .

About the bond between mentor Gautam Gambhir and bowling all-rounder Sunil Narine, Nayar said the bond between these two is “personal”, which is reflected in his hard-hitting batting at the top.

“It's a very personal connection. It's best understood by those two people. It's not necessarily about coaching, it can also be about trust. Sometimes just having someone in the dugout and having that aura around you can have a positive effect “There can be a lot of other things, like Gauti telling him to go out there and play freely,” Nayar said.

“Gautam Gambhir is the golden boy of Kolkata, he came to win us two championships as captain, and Sunil Narine was part of that journey. There will always be a certain memory that Sunny draws from. It's a more bond deep that unites the two “This is the case with some of them and this is reflected in Sunny's stick. He understands and trusts the guy who trusts everything I'm going to do, win or lose, succeed or get away with it,” he concluded.

Narine has been phenomenal this season for KKR, scoring 372 runs in nine innings at an average of 41.33 and a strike rate of 182.35, with a century and two fifties. His highest score is 109. He has also taken 11 wickets and is in contention for the Orange Cap and Purple Cap for most runs and most wickets this season.

Kolkata Knight Riders Squad: Philip Salt (w), Sunil Narine, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer (c), Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakaravarthy, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy, Manish Pandey , Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Dushmantha Chameera, Allah Ghazanfar, Sakib Hussain, Sherfane Rutherford, Chetan Sakariya, Nitish Rana, Srikar Bharat

Mumbai Indians Team: Ishan Kishan (w), Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya (c), Nehal Wadhera, Tim David, Mohammad Nabi, Gerald Coetzee, Piyush Chawla, Jasprit Bumrah, Nuwan Ensure, Naman Dhir, Shams Mulani, Dewald Brevis , Kumar Kartikeya, Luke Wood, Shreyas Gopal, Harvik Desai, Romario Shepherd, Arjun Tendulkar, Shivalik Sharma, Anshul Kamboj, Akash Madhwal, Kwena Maphaka.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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