Dubai: Shreyas Iyer, the young Delhi Capitals captain, feels he has sealed the No.4 position in Indian batting line-up in white ball cricket though he would be ready to bat at any position according to the needs of the team.
“If you’ve been playing for India for a year now at a certain position, I think you’ve sealed that spot, no more questions should be asked about it. There was so much debate going on about the No. 4 position for so long, so now it’s satisfying to have cemented my spot. But every player must be flexible and so am I, and I’m willing to bat at any position depending on what the match demands,” Iyer said with an air of confidence coming out of a string of consistent performances for the Men in Blue over the past year.
Iyer’s ambitions in the national colours had been a bit chequered one though as he made the cut back in 2015 for a brief stint only to be dumped. However, the last five years has seen him evolve as a batsman and earned praise from various quarters including skipper Virat Kohli.
Speaking at an Instagram live on the official handle of the Delhi team on Monday, the 25-year-old said: “It’s a phenomenal feeling when Virat Kohli compliments you. He truly is a leader and a role model. His hunger is never-ending and he’s a relentless athlete. Each time he goes out on the field, it’s like he’s out there for his very first game. He’s like a lion, and there’s so much to learn from him,” expressed Iyer.
Iyer was picked up by Delhi Daredevils at the IPL auction in 2015. It was a breakout season for the youngster, who ended the tournament with 439 runs and the Emerging Player award, but not without a hiccup of an injury. “I had fractured my index finger after third game, and the doctor said I couldn’t play,” he said. “Gary Kirsten was coaching us then and he said, you can hide somewhere in the field, but we need you to bat for us. I agreed, I could’ve done anything for the team.”
Recalling the occasion when he was handed over Delhi’s captaincy midway through the 2018 season when he had to step into Gautam Gambhir’s shoes, Iyer said: “When I joined Delhi, somehow I knew, a situation like this would arise one day, and that’s why I was always prepared for it mentally.
“When I smashed 93 vs KKR in my first game as captain, I knew I was ready. A lot of pundits had questioned the decision, but the results were there for everyone to see and the team signed off on a high that season beating some big teams,” he added.
The Delhi team, rechristened Delhi Capitals last year, became the talk of the tournament in 2019 when they made the play-offs after several seasons and eventually finished third. “The aim was to make it to the play-offs, which we did. However, we failed at the last hurdle, but I believe winning the title is something that this team can definitely achieve in the future,” he said.
Having Australian legend Ricky Ponting at the helm of affairs in Delhi is a big reason behind the results coming in, Iyer admitted. “It felt so good when I first worked with him in 2018. There’s so much you can learn just from his body language, which is all about positivity. You feel like he doesn’t judge players, and treats everyone equally, which is the sign of a good coach. Kudos to him for that approach he has, and I believe that has helped us a team, and me individually as well.”