Shreyas Iyer – The Virender Sehwag of India Under-19

Shreyas Iyer’s (right) aggressive batting has led to his friends comparing him with Virender Sehwag. Photo Courtesy Shreyas Iyer’s Facebook account.

By Aayush Puthran and Sarang Bhalerao

It is a proud time for young cricketers in Mumbai right now. It was just a few days back when Sarfaraz Khan hit the headlines with a ton for India in an Under-19  tournament against South Africa. And now it is was the turn of 18-year-old Shreyas Iyer to make his mark with a 67-ball 109 against Australia Under-19 at Visakhapatnam.

A rather lesser-known figure among the likes of Vijay Zol and Akhil Herwadkar in Under-19 team’s recent success, Iyer’s power-hitting has not missed the eyes of his teammates.

Pranav Menon, who played with Iyer in the Under-14 category at Shivaji Park Youngsters said, “Shreyas always batted with confidence. He used to go for his shots right from the outset. We used to compare him with Virender Sehwag.”

Menon’s words were reiterated even by his cousin Karthik Vijayan, who used to play cricket along with him during his initial years. Karthik said, “One of the things about his early cricketing days that I distinctly remember is his love for playing big shots. I haven’t followed his cricket much recently, but I’m sure, he has retained that quality.”

Iyer played a key role in Podar College’s inter-collegiate victory last season and his coach Madhav Gavande said that he will be missed this season.

“Shreyas helped Podar win the quarter-final and semi-final matches of last year’s inter-college tournament. However, he was not available for the final as he was training at the national camp in Bangalore. It is now, when he is unavailable for this year’s tournament, that we miss his presence in the team,” said Gavande.

The coach and former teammates also vouched for his sincerity during practice. Menon said, “There was a time when he was struggling to score runs but he ironed out the flaws in his batting and improved his fitness. As a result he scored a century in Kanga League B Division and also Purushottam Shield.”

Menon believes the centuries expedited Iyer’s selection in the Mumbai Under-19 team. For Mumbai he scored a magnificent 135 against Gujarat at the Bandra-Kurla Complex Ground earlier this year. He has never looked back since then.

(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)