Shreyas Iyer, who has scored 210 runs in six ODIs at a healthy average of 42.00 with two fifties, last played a one-dayer against South Africa at the Centurion in February this year. @ AFP
Shreyas Iyer, who has scored 210 runs in six ODIs at a healthy average of 42.00 with two fifties, last played a one-dayer against South Africa at the Centurion in February this year. @ AFP

Shreyas Iyer has been one of those players who has been in and out of the Indian team. The Mumbai batsman, who has scored 210 runs in six ODIs at a healthy average of 42.00 with two fifties, last played a one-dayer against South Africa at the Centurion in February this year. He did not bat as Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 129 was enough to steer the tourists to an eight-wicket victory.

Iyer isn’t frustrated that he’s out of the team, but he has now reached a stage where selection don’t bother him. “I am emotionless now. I don’t feel anything from the inside these days,” Iyer was quoted as saying by the Indian Express on Friday.

“Koi feeling hi nahi aa raha hai. For me somehow it (fussing about Indian call) isn’t important. Someone comes and says, I am in team, I am not in team, kuch farak nahi padhta (it doesn’t matter much).”

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Since making his debut in 2014, Iyer has scored 809, 1321 and 725 in the last three Ranji Trophy seasons, but that was still insufficient to seal a place in the home series against the West Indies.

“I have stopped thinking too much. It all started against West Indies. I told myself that I want to enjoy my life, mazaa karna hai. I don’t want selection issues to rule my happiness. Otherwise I would get frustrated and thinking about the future will ruin my present also. It’s better to enjoy life – selection is a temporary thing,” he said.

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His workload too has increased significantly. Since the Indian Premier League, Iyer has been part of India A and has turned up in the Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy this season as well. In fact, just after the night he arrived from New Zealand, Iyer was in action playing for Mumbai at the Wankhede in a Ranji match against Baroda. The fatigue didn’t get the better of him as Iyer went to score a brilliant 178 which paved the way for a crucial draw.

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“Haan wohi, you can’t also say no. Situation is such. Other day I was in New Zealand when Mumbai asked me whether I can play next game because if Mumbai wants to go to knock-out stage, we need to win all games. How can I say no to Mumbai?” he said when asked to make a quick turnaround.

But now, fatigue is catching up. “Body is completely tired, I am fatigued mentally. But no one is going to say take rest, Kisi ko farak pada nahi hai kuch (no one cares),” he said.

“Yes. We are not machines. I wanted to tell this in any interview. There is no one to tell that players don’t get adequate rest. We are playing non-stop for two years. Zara sa break nahi milta. I am out of home for 300 days. Even if am in India, I am not home.”

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He didn’t hide the fact that being away from home can make one lonely. “I do feel loneliness. Once, when I was playing for India A and on a tour, I felt very lonely. How do I spend time? I listen to music and there is always Netflix. It can get tough. We players do feel homesick; people who watch us playing should realise what we go through,” he said.

While hopes of a place in the ICC World Cup 2019 squad is almost over with Ambati Rayudu sealing the middle order slot, Iyer revealed that sometimes it does get frustrating to be on the fringes of the national side.

“It (frustration) was there for last four years. Hoga hi na, kisi ke saath bhi hoga (It will happen, to anyone right?) So I decided not to think about it at all,” he said.

“I just say yes, nod my head. I have no say in this. I have to perform in whatever matches I get in front of me and am doing just that. Bas, Life is simple.

“I don’t care, mujhe koi farak nahi padhta seriously. I don’t follow others’ scores, but my team-mates keep telling me, what’s happening here and there, who is scoring how much! I just listen.”