200215 Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer Image Credit: Shreyas Iyer Twitter

Dubai: India’s attacking top-order batsman Shreyas Iyer has urged budding cricketers in the UAE to tide over the coronavirus pandemic period through a determined effort and come out safe.

“We are all going through a tough time. So I urge everyone to make the best use of this time. We will all come through this phase together. Stay healthy, stay safe, and most important stay home,” he said.

Iyer, who has cemented his place in the Indian team through his consistency and a wide repertoire of strokes, encourages everyone to remain active too. “Though all of us have to stay home, we must make sure to engage in indoor activities as much as possible,” he added.

Iyer, who used to play regularly in the Bisleri Challenge Cup in Mumbai organised by UAE-based MaxTalent Academy for the age group 13-15 years, has sent out a video to the trainees of this academy. He is also the brand ambassador the Maxtalent’s Adivasi children development programme in Dugad Village in Maharashtra. “My best wishes to cricket lovers all over, especially to the Maxtalent trainee kids, their parents, and the Adivasi children from Dugad. I hope you all stay home and stay safe by indulging in indoor activities,” he said through his video message.

Iyer, who had won Maxtalent’s best Universal Emerging Player award in 2014, hails from a middle-class background but clinched a place in the Indian team after emerging as the highest scorer in Ranji Trophy for Mumbai. Though he is hailed as one among the rising stars in world cricket, he makes sure to support young cricketers and puts in all efforts to promote the game. Iyer often distributes cricket equipment to promising youngsters. Speaking to Gulf News, former UAE Under-15 player Vignesh Rajan, who had played club cricket with Iyer for the Worli Sports Club in Mumbai, said: “Iyer has often given me expensive bats to play when I played for the DY Patil team in the A Division Times Shield matches. Though he has reached great heights by working hard, he helps his teammates and also those who need help to progress in the game.”

Iyer averages 49.86 in ODI matches and has hit one century and eight fifties from his 18 matches since his debut for India in 2017. His ability to remain consistent has won laurels since his debut for Mumbai when he piled up 809 runs at an average of 50.56 to become the team’s highest run-getter. Soon he led Mumbai to their 41st Ranji Trophy title piling up 1,321 runs at an average of 73.38, which included a century in the final.

Iyer later tweeted another video calling all people to remain safe: “We are fighting against something that has affected everyone. Our government, medical professionals, police, and administration are working round the clock for us. It is important that we contribute to this cause by staying at home and being proactive. Please wash your hands regularly, and above all don’t panic.”