It’s not often you see a cricketer lose his cool at a press conference but that’s what happened when Shreyas Iyer was asked about his struggles against short balls after India’s 2023 Cricket World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Thursday. After hitting 82 with the bat against the Lankans at the Wankhede Stadium, Iyer also had to bat some ‘short ball’ questions in the press for six years. When asked about his troubles against the bouncers, Iyer had no qualms about playing defensively and decided to issue a sharp retort to the reporter.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Reporter: I wanted to ask, short ball has been a problem for you since the beginning of this World Cup and today we saw some great pull shots. How much are you ready for the next game against South Africa because we know how good they are with the short balls.
Shreyas Iyer: When you say it’s a problem for me what do you mean?
Reporter: Not a problem, exactly a problem but it gave you trouble.
Shreyas Iyer:Trouble me? Did you see how many pull shots I scored? Especially gone for four.
If you want to hit a ball, you’re going to have to go out anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short ball, it’s an over pitch. If I manage to bowl two or three times, you all say, okay, he can’t play a ball in swing. He cannot play a cut if the ball appears.
So, look, we as players are bound to find out any kind of deliveries. You guys have created that environment outside that he can’t play a short ball. And I think people are picking that up now and again and it plays on your mind regularly and you keep working on that.
Coming from Mumbai, especially from Wankhede, where the Bounce is quite flat and it bounces a lot more than any other pitches. So, I’ve played most of my games here, so I know how to deal with it. It’s just that when I go to hit some shots, you have to go out and sometimes it might work, sometimes it might not work. And most of the times it didn’t work for me, maybe that’s why you think it’s a problem for me. But in my mind, I know there is no problem.
— Shawstopper (@shawstopper_100) November 2, 2023
He admitted that it was very difficult for him to move after the back injury he suffered earlier this year. He sat out for more than six months, after undergoing surgery to overcome the problem,” Iyer seemed utterly disdainful.
“Yes, it was a difficult journey coming off injury, especially from a fielding point of view. I couldn’t move like I used to. In terms of recovery after the games, because of 50 overs, it takes a lot of toll on your body,” he said.
The top middle order contended that looking at how the Indian bowlers performed against Sri Lanka — bowling them out for 55 in just 19.4 overs — he was lucky that the hitters facing them in the match situation.
“Yeah, looking at the bowling today and the game before, sure, we’re lucky not to play against them. But at the same time, we beat them in the nets. So, it gives us extra motivation to come and play anyway the bowlers,” he said.
He didn’t start playing on his mind
Iyer said he was unable to take advantage of the starts he got in some of the World Cup matches but wanted to bat with a more aggressive mindset against Sri Lanka.
“It was playing on my mind from the start, because I was getting off to a great start in the first few games. I could only take advantage of what I was going for.
“I said to myself, if it’s there in my area, I’ll just take the bull by the horn. And, fortunately, it’s worked for me and I hope it will continue to work for me in the future well, because the team is in a great space right now,” he said.
All praise to bowlers
Iyer said that the experience put together by India’s bowling attack is a lethal unit and more importantly it helps them decide on the right plan of action during a match.
“They have so much experience. They know exactly what is happening on the field. And as a batsman, we keep exchanging our information, especially if you are going to the other bat.
“They come in and talk about the conditions, what’s happening and in that conversation the bowlers are also around and they also watch what’s happening on the field,” Iyer said.
The troika knows the art of picking wickets.
“I think they have a lot of experience to know how the wicket is playing and what they will be able to execute in the second innings, if we are bowling second. And they have so much experience that we don’t throw anything at basically say nothing to them,” Iyer added.
With PTI inputs
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