After getting a call-up for the T20I series against New Zealand, Shreyas Iyer recalls how he dealt with Australian sledging during a warm-up fixture earlier this year. The 22-year-old also discussed his first tryst with the Indian team and how his excellent run-out helped him settle in the team.
Unlike Mohammed Siraj, this isn’t the first time that Shreyas Iyer has got a national call-up, having been a part of the squad for the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy earlier this year. The board was forced to call upon his services when the squad got shortened with an injured Virat Kohli, following the Mumbaikar's brilliant innings of 202 against Australia in the warm-up fixture prior to the series.
The young boy from Mumbai recalls coming to the pitch amidst the relentless Australian sledging in that warm-up game. Australia had scored a mammoth 469, and Iyer came in at a time when India A
He chose not to reply back. “Since I was playing against a senior team, it wouldn't have been great for me to reply. You can't just sledge guys like Warner, who have achieved a lot for their country. I was thinking 'Let me get to a total, after that, I can talk.' I like to talk. If someone sledges me, I like to give it back,” he said.
His double ton included 27 boundaries and seven sixes as the star of the match remained not out, and one memorable instance was going for the six in the very first ball.
He continues, “I wasn't scared of the bowlers or the consequences. Nathan Lyon was a bit frustrated that I was stepping out and hitting him easily. He was chirping and I gave it back. It was good, it was challenging.”
His impressive knock wasn’t enough to get him into the starting eleven of the Dharamsala Test, though he made sure to etch his name in the debut game when he came on as a substitute fielder to contribute in a run-out. The beautiful piece of fielding also helped him settle to the Indian side. He fondly remembers, “Once I reached there, I was feeling a little insecure since I hadn't mingled with the team before… After getting a run-out, they started liking me a lot… that effort was alone worth the trip up to Dharamsala.”
Iyer has been knocking on the selector’s door for quite a while now. In the tri-series final in South Africa in August, he hammered an unbeaten match-winning 140. In the subsequent two unofficial Test matches against New Zealand A in Vijayawada, he made 108 and 82 in the two innings he batted, which was followed by a brilliant 73-ball 90 in the one-dayers.