The name of Shreyas Iyer has been synonymous with his natural flair and attractive stroke-making while batting on the cricket field.
In a recent interview on Cricbuzz’s web series, Spicy Pitch, Iyer talked about his transformation from being an out-and-out six-hitter to becoming a responsible batsman.
Rising through the ranks in Mumbai cricket, Iyer soon became an integral part of India ‘A’ side. In the interview, Iyer mentioned one of the instances when his coach Rahul Dravid took him to the task, looking at his choice of shot.
The story is of a 24-year-old batting powerhouse in his first-ever India A match against Australia. It was the last over of the first day, where other players would settle for fending the deliveries, Iyer went on to take the risk of playing over the top for a maximum, raising Dravid’s eyebrows.
Moreover, great coaches tend to spot deficiencies in players instantly, and in the case of Iyer, it was his temperament. Iyer conceded that Dravid judged his temperament with that one shot.
“He came to me later and took me to task for playing such a risky shot. I didn’t realize what the big deal was at that time. It was only much later that I realized why he said those things to me,” Iyer told host Manish Batavia.
Iyer’s reputation for being temperamental continued to stay with him and that is why he didn’t make the cut into the India squad for a very long time. This all happened when he was performing exceedingly well at the domestic level, scoring 1300 runs in one Ranji Trophy season alone. Then, the Mumbaikar decided to cut to the chase and speak directly to the selectors.
“They told me that I didn’t have the right temperament for international cricket. They didn’t select me because they were afraid that I would lose my mind if I came up against a very tough bowler,” recalled India’s number four in ODIs.
Shreyas disclosed that he was full of anger and resentment for several months. He even became extremely bitter, to the point of being rude. But slowly, things started to shift. Over time, he realized that he had to improve his mindset if he was going to make it to the Indian team.
Rather than skills, the battle for Iyer was about conquering his temperament and finding a match winner’s mindset. Shreyas not only improved his attitude but proved the selectors wrong.
Not only did Iyer become one of the most expensive buys in the IPL, but he also managed to break into the Indian team, proving answers for the team’s perennial number four conundrum.