Mumbai once again scripted history in the domestic circuit as they clinched their record 41st Ranji Trophy title by defeating Saurashtra in the epic final at Pune on Friday. The centre of attraction was once again young and talented Shreyas Iyer who played a scintillating knock of 117 runs and steered his side to a dominating position. Iyer has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuits and the time has come when he reaps fruit for his hard work. He has the ingredients and making of a star and has proven his worth in gold and looks hungry for more. Suraj Choudhari feels he should be roped into the Test side and groomed for the bigger platforms. Aditya Tare records most dismissals by wicketkeeper in a Ranji Trophy season
Iyer shot to limelight in the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) while featuring for Delhi Daredevils (DD) where a 20-year old kid took on world class bowlers only to stun everyone with his ability. Iyer has redefined batting in his unique way; his technique is unorthodox and looks to go over the field. Iyer’s strength is his timing and takes calculated risks which he perfectly executes at the crease.
Iyer was prolific through the tournament and scored runs on a regular basis. In fact, he was on the verge of breaking VVS Laxman’s record of maximum runs by an individual in the entire Ranji season. But it wasn’t to be as he felt short of few runs. Iyer was instrumental in the entire knock-out stages; he scored copious runs in the quarter-final and semi-final to help his side reserve a berth in the final. This speaks of his ability in crunch and high pressure games.READ: Shreyas Iyer: The next big thing in Indian cricket
In the final, Saurashtra were bowled out for a modest score of 235 in their first innings, which Mumbai replied by piling 371 runs. They had a healthy lead of 136 runs as Saurashtra batsmen floundered in the second innings to a mere score of 115 giving Mumbai victory by an innings and 21 runs.
Iyer batted with immense confidence on a wicket which had great assistance for the bowlers. He scored runs at a brisk pace and his 117-run knock included 15 boundaries and couple of sixes. Mumbai suffered couple of early blows and were precariously placed at 23 for the loss of two wickets. Iyer along with Siddhesh Lad sailed Mumbai’s ship out of choppy waters as the former took the attack to the opposition with his explosive batting and buoyancy. READ: Sachin Tendulkar proved to be of ‘immense help’ ahead of Ranji Trophy 2015-16: Shreyas Iyer
The pressure of a final is always high; he adapted to the conditions and soaked in the pressure to come out with flying colours. With this knock, he has scripted his name in history of domestic cricket with gold and has caught the eyeballs of the selectors. He finished the tournament on a high as the highest run-scorer with 1321 runs in his basket at an astounding average of 73.38 along with four centuries and seven half-centuries to his name. The enticing part of his run in the tournament was his strike-rate which was a phenomenal 92.70. These numbers are a testament to his capability. Generally, it’s difficult to bat against the red ball and scoring at such a quick pace is an arduous task which demands concentration and ability to back one’s instincts. Iyer is certainly being an exception and reworking the syllabus of Test batting.
The Indian Test side in the recent times have lacked an effective opener to accompany Murali Vijay. Iyer could well be the best fit for the opener’s slot. He is well equipped to bat in the middle-order and his style of play could get India some priceless runs lower down the order. He should be given a chance for Tests at home as he has played some highly competitive cricket in Indian conditions and can make an impact. India have invested too much in the likes of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina and it’s high time that youngsters like Iyer are given an opportunity.
At present India don’t have enough ammunition in their batting for Test cricket. Barring few cricketers like Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara others are struggling for consistency. It’s not for the lack of talent but surely for the lack of opportunities. India has a dearth of talent but most have not got enough exposure. Iyer can surely make his opportunities count as he has a reputation of doing so.
Roping him in the Test side will help him groom for the biggest level, where he can work on his flaws and develop his game for betterment. Iyer has the making of a superstar and has earned accolades from many cricketing greats. Keeping an eye the next World Cup and the way game has evolved, players like Iyer are invaluable. He is young, talented, and hungry for success, a bit of polishing can help him achieve greater heights.
Recently, Iyer made the headline when Mumbai Indians (MI) franchise was ready to trade three players including Australian star batsman Aaron Finch in exchange for Iyer with DD. DD refused the offer and didn’t opt for it as they were well aware of Iyer’s potential. As of now, Iyer will be pretty pleased with his performances and it’s celebration time for the young lad.
(Suraj Choudhariis a reporter with Criclife and CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)
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