Shreyas Iyer has admitted that he was already thinking as a captain for the Delhi Daredevils despite Gautam Gambhir leading the side at that point in time. Iyer also expressed that he had to adjust his batting style to suit playing at No.4 for the Indian team and admitted it’s a ‘challenge’.
Having led the Delhi Capitals to their first-ever IPL final in 2020, Shreyas Iyer’s journey in the Delhi Capitals outfit has been extraordinary. After being picked in the 2015 Auction as an emerging player, the right-hander was picked as Delhi’s third retained player, in a year where they also picked Gautam Gambhir as their skipper. With Gambhir hitting a terrible run of form, Iyer was appointed as the skipper mid-season for the franchise.
Since then, he has expressed himself as a batsman with 1500 runs in the IPL, having also led his side with aplomb. However, the captaincy was something that was always on his mind before the start of the 2018 IPL Auctions. Iyer admitted that he was already thinking as a skipper in the 2018 season of the IPL before he was made the skipper, which was always his goal for the Delhi side.
“The new auction had happened and DD had selected Gautam Gambhir as the captain, where I was retained as the third player. During the negotiations, they were asking me at what price you would want to be retained, to which I replied money doesn’t matter to me at this point. I am just looking forward to leading the Delhi Capitals in the future. This was my exact words because I was already leading India ‘A’ side back then and that was my vision,” Iyer told Ashwin on his YouTube show ‘DRS with Ash’.
“I was already thinking as a captain when I entered the 2018 IPL and never knew that the responsibility would be coming to me in the very same year. But at the back of my mind, I was really ready that, if an opportunity comes then I would have to grab it with my hands and do the best. And exactly that’s what happened,” he added.
Iyer’s rise in the Indian setup has been subliminal and at times looked like it was always around the corner. Having made his debut for the national team in 2017, at the age of 22, Iyer’s ceiling was always something that was widely talked about in the Indian cricketing circles. With the number four spot up for grabs, the right-hander had to battle it out with the likes of Vijay Shankar, Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey before sealing his position. He recalled that he had to adjust his batting style to suit the position.
“I obviously used to bat at No.3 for India A and Mumbai when I first started in Ranji Trophy, not at number four but I have played at no.7 and no.5 but got to know that there was a fight for the No.4 position. So I told the selectors that I would want to play at No.4 and definitely, I should be looking in that position for the future. At that position back then there was a lot of competition but I had to adjust myself.”
Iyer also talked about the challenges that come with batting at No.4, admitting that you either walk-in at 20/2 or 150/2, with the pressure on you. However, the Mumbaikar stated that due to his flexibility, he doesn’t have too many problems playing in the position, having cemented that position for himself.
“That’s how the journey had started and obviously if you get that number, either you are going to walk in at 20/2 or 150/2, so it’s a challenge. If you are playing for India, it doesn’t matter where you bat, you just have to give your best and take them over the line. I’m very much flexible in terms of batting at any number, I don’t crib about anything.”