Copy of SPO SHREYAS IYER-1693148039582
India's Ishan Shreyas Iyer in action during the second ODI match against South Africa in Ranchi last year. Image Credit: IANS

Bengaluru: On his return to the Indian cricket team ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup, right-handed batter Shreyas Iyer recalled the phase of his back injury, saying that it was “horrendous” and “was in excruciating pain”.

Iyer was pulled out mid-way from India’s fourth Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia at Ahmedabad in March this year after suffering a recurrence of a lower back injury.

That injury had earlier ruled Iyer out of the white-ball series against New Zealand at home as well as the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia in Nagpur.

Nerve compression

“Feeling ecstatic to be honest, to join the team and see happy faces all around. The compassion shown by all the players was fantastic, and I am thrilled to be back. To be precise, I had this nerve compression, basically, a slip disc, which was compressing the nerve and the pain was going all the way down to the bottom of my tiny toe.”

“It was horrendous and to be honest, then, I was in excruciating pain. I wasn’t able to express myself properly about what I was going through. But this was the feeling that I was having at that point in time and was hard to communicate to everyone. I had this issue for a while, but I was taking injections and going through various routes to see to it that I am steady and playing many more matches,” said Iyer in a video posted on

Ruled out of IPL 2023, the Kolkata Knight Riders star then underwent a lower-back surgery in May in the United Kingdom.

“But it reached a saturation point where I realised that, ‘okay, now I have to get surgery’. The physios and the experts told me that it is important that you go under the knife and get this done straight. After the injury, I went back home. I was hospitalised for two days and then I got back home. I gave myself rest for like, almost ten days,” said Iyer.

“In that period, one of the doctors had come to check my toe strength. He said that you can manage, but at the same time, the surgery will also be required. So I thought the best decision would be to get the surgery done because I have long years ahead to play and I am truly happy with my decision,” he added.

Post-surgery phase

Recalling the post-surgery phase, Iyer said, “After the surgery, the surgeon also said that it was a great decision that you decided to go for the surgery. Post the surgery, I was in London for three weeks because the doctor had to check my progress over a period of time. After three weeks, he was happy and he asked me to come back.”

Iyer then reported to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for rehab and recovery from the back surgery.

Grateful to support staff

In a recent social media post, Iyer expressed gratefulness to Nitin Patel, the NCA Sports Science and Medicine head, as well as to S. Rajinikanth, the strength and conditioning coach.

“Then the physios took over at NCA. It was a roller-coaster ride, to be honest. The pain was there until three months, and then after that, it started subsiding. But at the same time, the physios were focused on getting the range back — of my glutes, hamstring and everything. See, when you are going through the rehab, especially as a professional athlete, it is tough when the pain is not subsiding.”

Iyer credited his family and friends for supporting him whenever he fell in doubt.

“Thankfully, I had a great set of friends around me and the support staff and also my family, so they were the ones who calmed me down in this situation, and I was panicking as well. But patience is the key now, especially. I am truly happy to be happy where I am right now because I never imagined that I would recover so fast.”

In July, the BCCI said Iyer was back to batting and would ramp up his fitness and strength drills.

Talking about it, Iyer explained, “The testing phase was the toughest period to go through, and the physios and the trainers were pretty confident about me coming back strong. But in my mind, I could feel the pain. So I was pretty oblivious at that point of time whether I would pass the test or not. But over a period of time, I realised that the pain is subsiding and my strength is improving in my leg.”

“So, gradually, as we started doing some running sessions, the first running session was extremely tough. I was a bit perplexed at that point in time over what would happen. In the second session, I was progressing. I did some trial yo-yo tests, and gradually, after some time, I played a match, and then I was gaining that momentum. Then, in the yo-yo test, I surprised myself as well.”

With the ordeal now over, Iyer is practising with the Indian team in a six-day camp before flying to Colombo for the Asia Cup. His return also means the crucial number four slot will be occupied by him, a position where he averages 47.35 at a strike rate of 94.37, giving the Indian team huge relief.

“See, for me, it is important right now to be in the present and do my routines right. I don’t want to think what is going to happen beyond what has happened in the past. I am happy being right now where I am and I am ticking all the boxes day by day.”

“In terms of preparation, I had fantastic two days of practice with the boys and it was also competitive. So happy to be here right now and embracing each and every moment,” concluded Iyer.