Will Shreyas Iyer be India's number three in white-ball cricket?

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Shreyas Iyer has a lot of potential.

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Will Shreyas Iyer be India's number three in white-ball cricket?

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Kunal Joshi

06/09/2022

Shreyas Iyer is a young talented batter who has done well at the international level across formats for the country and is looked at as one of India's future prospects. The right-handed batter has the ability and game awareness that is required for a number three and could be Kohli's successor.

Over the years, white-ball cricket has seen tremendous growth and it is played more often than Test cricket. The fans also enjoy watching the shorter formats as it does not take up as much time as Test cricket. Since the time Kapil Dev and his men won the ODI world cup in 1983, Indian fans have loved the ODI format because there is a history that is now attached to the most loved sport in India.
White-ball cricket went a step further when MS Dhoni's men went on to win the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in South Africa. A format that was alien to the fans till then but picked up pace after the performance that India gave in that tournament. This was followed by the debut of Virat Kohli the very next year who slowly and steadily in the years that followed went on to become India's premier batter in white-ball cricket. 
Kohli made the number three spot in ODIs as well as T20Is his own and is one of the most successful batters when it comes to chasing targets. The way he controlled the innings by batting at number three showed the kind of game sense that one needs to have when batting at that spot. With that being said, Kohli, it seems is past his prime and India need someone to replicate or do even better than what the former India captain did at that spot. 
Shreyas Iyer
has been a part of the Indian setup for quite some time. The right-handed batter made his debut back in November 2017 in a T20I game against Sri Lanka. Since then, he has gone on to play in every format of the game and has done well. But he still has to fight for his spot every time as he is a pure batter and it becomes difficult to fit him in the playing XI keeping in mind the balance of the side. 
The Mumbai-based cricketer must have felt dejected when he was not a part of the T20 world cup squad last year and had to be in the reserves. But since then, Shreyas Iyer has grabbed every opportunity that he has got with both hands to make it count. In ODIs, whenever Shreyas Iyer has batted at number three, he has done well for the team and himself. If you look at the statistics, the young batter has only batted at that spot three times in his career and has managed to score 162 runs with an average of 54.00. Iyer's strike rate is also the most impressive when he bats at number three at 101.25. This shows that he has the potential to do well if he is given more chances at this position which is currently occupied by Virat Kohli in white-ball cricket. 
If we talk about T20Is, Iyer has featured in 32 games so far and has managed to score 809 runs with an average of 36.77. Any batter who averages above 30 in this format is considered to be doing good. The same is with Shreyas Iyer as he has done well in whatever opportunities have come his way and made sure that he stays in the scheme of things. Iyer has really good numbers when he has batted at three in T20Is. In the eight times that he has batted at three, the right-handed batter has a staggering 340 runs under his belt with an equally impressive strike rate of 146.55. This again proves that Iyer has all the qualities that are needed in modern-day cricket when it comes to batting at number three.  
India's top order as of now comprises KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli who are similar in their style of batting. They take their time to get their eye in whether it's T20 cricket or ODIs. Now the issue here is the fact when all three take their time and if they fail to bat till the very end then the pressure gets comes on the middle-order and that is where the game slips out of India's hands. This is why grooming a young cricketer for the number three spot is very important if the Indian team starts looking towards the future and with the kind of records and performances that Shreyas Iyer has given, he fits the role and has proved that he can bat well under pressure. 
But, the one area that Shreyas Iyer will need to work on is his game against the short ball. This has been a major cause of concern for him and he really needs to work hard and improve. These days with all the data analysts and statisticians that travel with the teams, everyone knows the weakness of their opponents and takes now no time in testing them in the very same area. So, if Shreyas Iyer has to succeed at the highest level, he will need to work on his batting and improve against short balls. 
In my opinion, he definitely has the game and the potential to do well at the number three position in white-ball cricket for India and can be the perfect batter that India will need after the Virat Kohli era. 

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