Kolkata: Shreyas Iyer, the newly appointed captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, made no bones about the fact that it would be quite a fanboy moment for him when he meets Shah Rukh Khan - the Bollywood icon and the talismanic co-owner of the franchise.
‘‘I haven’t had a chance to meet him but I have been a great fan of his. I have always admired at the way he is present at the ground and the support he gives the team. I will go crazy I think (when I meet him),’’ Shreyas said during his first virtual media conference with a section of Kolkata media along with their long serving CEO Venky Mysore.
Looking ahead at the 2022 season which gets under way on March 26, it’s a given that the team management will be relying on the in-form Indian batter to play a pivotal role in their batting line-up by anchoring the innings. Replying to a question from Gulf News, the new captain felt he wants to be flexible about his batting position and wants to see everyone sharing the responsibility rather than him playing the anchor.
Asked if he will be coming up the order unlike in the Indian line-up, the Mumbai batter said: ‘‘My favourite batting position is number three as that’s where I have batted for long. However, I see my role changing as per the course of the match - I can play the anchor role on some days while I can also play the power-hitter on other days and vice versea.’’
The batting position of Venkatesh Iyer will be another contentious issue as he had shone as an opener in the second leg of IPL in the UAE last year, but the Indian team management had used him successfully as a finisher at number six in the T20 series against the West Indies. ‘‘I know he had done exceedingly well as an opener for KKR last year. We have had a chat while playing for India recently and he is quite a teamman - we will decide on his position once we begin the preparations in full swing,’’ he said.
A major plus for Shreyas the Mumbaikar will be his familiarity with the wickets in Mumbai, where most of the matches will be played this season. ‘‘There is good bounce on the Wankhede wicket as also Brabourne, along with a fast outfield. It’s important to see that our preparations are adequate. The intensity of the matches will also increase as the crowd is coming back after two seasons,’’ he said.
At 27, Shreyas had been no stranger to managing the expectations of senior players in the squad during his captaincy of Delhi Capitals. The scenario will be similar in the Knights camp where the likes of Aaron Finch, the T20 World Cup-winning captain for Australia, Test skipper Pat Cummins and senior pro Ajinkya Rahane will be around and Shreyas has a plan to get all on board in the campaign. ‘‘It’s a great honour to have them, they have played in all formats and achieved so much. If I want to take advice both on and off the field, they can play an immense part with their inputs,’’ he said.
Finally, what about his expectations of Sunil Narine, the eternal matchwinner for KKR? ‘‘He (Sunil) is someone who likes to be on his own. I am not too worried about lack of game time as when I played him last year, he was quite unplayable with his variations. I am looking forward to meet him and get things started,’’ he added.