In the ongoing 2023 World Cup, while Shreyas Iyer has showcased his utility as a middle-order batsman for India, he is yet to deliver the kind of remarkable innings seen from cricket stalwarts like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, or KL Rahul in the same tournament.
India discovered several solutions to their longstanding No.4 conundrum in ODI cricket just before the commencement of the World Cup. Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and KL Rahul proved their mettle for this crucial position, whereas Shreyas Iyer continued to hold his premier status as the team’s key batter. Iyer’s impressive record includes 964 runs in 26 matches at an average of 45.90, featuring two centuries and six half-centuries, while batting at No.4.
Despite his noteworthy contributions, Shreyas Iyer’s highest score in the 2023 World Cup has been an unbeaten 53, which hints at untapped potential (AP/HIT). In the ongoing tournament, Iyer’s batting displays have been useful, including an unbeaten half-century against Pakistan that played a pivotal role in India’s victory. However, the 28-year-old is yet to produce a standout innings, with scores of 0, 25 not out, 53 not out, and 19 so far.
Former India captain and cricket legend, Sunil Gavaskar, emphasized that Shreyas Iyer should capitalize more on the opportunities he receives while batting at No.4. Gavaskar’s comments came after the Bangladesh match, where Iyer was caught at deep midwicket while attempting a big shot after scoring 19 runs from 25 balls. “He (Shreyas Iyer) lost his patience. He was batting on 19 and threw his wicket away. Shubman Gill (was batting on) fifty (52) and threw his wicket away,” observed Gavaskar on Star Sports.
Gavaskar stressed the importance of learning from players like Virat Kohli, who scored an unbeaten century in the same match. Kohli has been prolific in this tournament, with impressive scores of 85, 55 not out, 16, and 103 not out. “Kohli never does that. He will seldom ever throw his wicket away. He makes you earn his wicket, and that’s precisely what you need. When he reached 70-80, he realized the opportunity to reach a hundred was within his grasp, and he seized it. Centuries don’t come every day,” Gavaskar added.
Understanding the art of scoring centuries
Kohli’s century against Bangladesh marked his 48th in ODI cricket, bringing him just one step away from equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s remarkable record. Gavaskar emphasized that players like Kohli and even Shubman Gill know how to score centuries, and Shreyas Iyer needs to master this skill. “You need to know how to reach a hundred, and it’s imperative for Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill. Shubman Gill is at least achieving centuries, while Shreyas Iyer is yet to do so. He has opportunities to bat at number 4 on pitches as favorable as these, and against bowlers as non-threatening as these, but he’s squandering these chances,” Gavaskar concluded.