Shreyas Iyer has had quite a lot of opportunities in the middle order slot since his debut for Team India. With 16 months left for the 2019 World Cup, the battle for those elusive no.4 and no.5 spots is gaining heat quickly.
Apart from Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav are also vying for those spots in the playing XI. "Competition for a batting slot has never worried me. I would say it always brings the best out of me. For me, battling for a slot is not a threat but an opportunity," Iyer said in an interview with PTI.
"Also, I should only be looking at improving my game and not think about who are my competitors," said Iyer, who scored 18 and 30 in the 4th and 5th ODIs respectively.
Iyer continued, "The two games that I batted, I found the pitches to be much quicker than what I played on during the A tour last year. The pitches in Pretoria during A tour was not as quick as these ones. It was a learning experience. And don't forget the pressure of playing to packed houses. Well, I have had experience of packed houses in IPL but this was international cricket."
Iyer said that things became smooth for him, thankfully for the guidance by his captain Virat Kohli.
"He (Kohli) has set a different benchmark for all of us with his meticulousness. It's a lesson that we all must learn about workload management on and off the field. He is precise in his preparation, not a single thing is ever taken lightly," he said.
Talking about the tips received from Kohli while batting with him, Iyer said, "I have got an opportunity to bat alongside him in a match situation only once and his advice is simple. If you want to play a certain shot, have the confidence to back yourself but don't take unnecessary risk when it's not required. And the most important piece of batting advice from the skipper ----when you are aiming to hit lofted shots, try and hit as straight as possible."
Iyer recognized a few areas he needed improvement in. "I think I need to improve my technique while playing the hook and pull shots on bouncy wickets. I will be working on my back and across movement (footwork for horizontal bat shots) with my coach Praveen Amre this season," Iyer said.
"I also intend to improve my bowling. If I could chip in with a few overs of my handy off spin, I could add another dimension to my game," said Iyer, who wishes to give Kedar Jadhav a run for his money for a spot in the team.
Delhi Daredevils retained Iyer for the IPL 2018 and Iyer said, "It will be a great opportunity to interact on batting with someone of Ricky Ponting's stature. He has an IPL Trophy both as a player and coach. His inputs will be invaluable."