Will Shreyas Iyer's stint as KKR skipper be a stepping stone towards India's captaincy?

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Shreyas Iyer is a promising young batter and has the ability to lead.

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Will Shreyas Iyer's stint as KKR skipper be a stepping stone towards India's captaincy?

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Kunal Joshi

03/31/2022

Shreyas Iyer is one of the best batters when it comes to the younger lot of players in the Indian team. The former Delhi Capitals skipper is the leader of KKR this season and if he can do well with the new franchise then can it be a stepping stone for him to become the captain of the Indian team?

Shreyas Iyer has made a name for himself in a very short span of time in international cricket. The right-handed batter is one of the most promising young players to play for the Indian team. The skill and class that Iyer possesses at the international level are unique and have the potential to be one of the best in the years to come. The fact that he is a good batter remains well-known for quite some time but what is becoming more prominent are his leadership qualities. Indian cricket is in transition with Virat Kohli making way for Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma being appointed as captain of the Indian cricket team in all formats was the obvious choice once Virat Kohli stepped away. However, if you look at the bigger picture, it looks like a stop-gap arrangement. It feels like the idea behind the appointment of Rohit Sharma as skipper has three motives. The BCCI wants India to win the T20 World Cup in Australia and with Rohit Sharma's record as Mumbai Indians captain, it feels like he is the man for the job. The next assignment will be the ODI World Cup which is scheduled to take place in India in 2023. Since 2011, the countries that host the tournament have gone on to win the coveted trophy. 

The third one is the most important one I feel and that is grooming India's next potential captain. Rohit Sharma is not getting any younger and it is possible that India might have a new captain after the 2023 World cup.

Now here is where things get interesting. With the likes of KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant captaining their respective teams Shreyas Iyer too has found a new one to captain.

Let us rewind a bit and have a look at what Shreyas Iyer has done as a skipper so far. The right-handed batter was picked by the Delhi team in 2015 for INR 2.6 crore. Iyer scored 439 runs in his debut season impressing many and helping him win the emerging player of the year award. The next year, he played 6 matches and scored 30 runs. However, from the 2017 season, Shreyas started maturing as a batter and scored 338 runs in 12 games. 

The following year saw former Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir return to Delhi and was named the captain of the season. But a poor run with the bat made Gambhir drop himself from the side and the captaincy of the team was handed over to Shreyas Iyer. A young batter who was doing well with the bat for the franchise as they looked to win their first title in the IPL. He was made captain mid-season after Delhi found themselves at the bottom of the points table after 8 games in 2018. 

In 2019, the real test for Shreyas Iyer began as the team had rebranded themselves from Delhi Daredevils to Delhi Capitals hoping for a change in fortunes. He had a point to prove and the challenge was not an easy one as Delhi had not done well in the IPL. However, the Mumbai-born cricketer led his team from the front and gave really good performances with the bat. Fans as well as former cricketers lauded the young batter for the way he lead his franchise. Under his leadership, Delhi Capitals qualified for the play-offs after finishing with 18 points which was equal to Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. The reason for them being third was because of the net run rate. 

Shreyas Iyer won 9 games and lost 5 during the league stage which is very impressive for any young captain. The following year, he returned as Delhi's captain and all eyes were on the franchise as many believed that they have the ability to win the title after what they had done last year.

The Delhi Capitals skipper was exceptional with the bat in 2020 as he scored 517 runs from 17 games and led his team to the final of IPL 2020. The turnaround that the franchise had seen under his captaincy was unbelievable. A team that could rarely enter the top four was now consistently in the play-offs. Iyer won 8 games as skipper in the league stage in lost 6. In the 41 matches that he captained DC, he won 21 games and lost 18. 

In 2021, he suffered an injury before the IPL and was replaced by Rishabh Pant as captain. Many thought that Iyer would be handed over the captaincy once the season was over but that did not happen. Following this, Shreyas Iyer got released by Delhi Capitals.

At the mega auction in February 2022, Kolkata Knight Riders bought the star batter for a sum of INR 12.25 crore and was named captain of the side. Iyer has done well with his former franchise which is why KKR bought him and believed in him as a skipper. 

IPL is often seen as a platform to judge young talent. With Iyer doing so well in such a high-pressure tournament his name will come up when India search for their future captain after the Rohit Sharma era is done with. 

Shreyas Iyer will have to make the most of his opportunity when he leads Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2022. As I write this, Iyer has won one game and lost the other for his new franchise but if he can do well and manage to lift the trophy with KKR this year. It will be the beginning of a new era for him where he will become the strongest contender for India's captaincy after Rohit Sharma.

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