Mumbai: Shreyas Iyer knew that he would be asked probing questions about his apparent weakness against short ball but the Mumbaikar, after his smashing 82, was ready to hook any such queries out of the park.
“When you say it’s a problem for me what do you mean?,” Iyer went on a counter-offensive.
“Troubled me? Have you seen how many pull shots I’ve scored? Especially, which has gone for four?. IN my mind, I have no problems with short ball,” Iyer replied to the query, seemingly agitated with the use of word ‘problem’.
For Iyer, it is simple. Batters, who go on offensive often get out.
“If you’re trying to hit a ball, you’re bound to get out anyway. Irrespective of it’s a short ball, (or) it’s an over-pitch. If I get bowled two or three times, you all would say that OK ‘he can’t play an in-swinging ball’ or ‘he can’t play a cut if ball is seaming’,” Iyer said.
“We, as players, are bound to get out on any sort of deliveries. You guys have created that environment outside that ‘he can’t play a short ball’. And I feel that people are picking that up every now and then and it plays on your mind regularly and you keep working on that,” Iyer added.
Iyer said he has played a majority of his domestic cricket at the Wankhede Stadium, his homeground, and he knows it well in terms of tackling the short ball.
“Coming from Mumbai, especially from Wankhede, where the bounce is pretty much even and it bounces way more than any other pitches. So, I’ve played (the) majority of my games here, so I know how to tackle it,” he said.
Iyer said in his mind he knows there’s no issue when it comes to facing the short ball.
“It’s just that when I go to hit some shots, you are bound to get out and sometimes it may work, sometimes it may not. And (the) majority of the times it hasn’t worked for me, maybe that’s the reason you think it’s a problem for me. But in my mind, I know there’s no problem,” he said.
He admitted that it was very difficult for him to move after his back injury he suffered earlier this year. He sat out for more than six months, having undergone a surgery to overcome the problem,” Iyer seemed completely dismissive.
“Yes, it was a difficult ride to come out of an injury, especially in terms of fielding. I wasn’t able to move as I used to before. But the trainers and the physios, they worked pretty hard on me, especially in terms of recovering after the games, because 50 overs, it takes a lot of toll on your body,” he said.
The middle-order mainstay quipped that looking at how the Indian bowlers performed against Sri Lanka — bowling them out for a mere 55 in 19.4 overs — it was lucky that the batters were not facing them in match-situation.
“Yeah, looking at today’s bowling and the previous game, definitely, we are lucky not to play against them. But at the same time, we batted them in the nets. So, it gives us an added motivation to come and play any sort of bowlers,” he said.
Not getting starts did play on his mind: Iyer said he was not able to capitalise on the starts he got in some of the matches in the World Cup but wanted to bat with a more aggressive intent against Sri Lanka.
“It was playing on my mind right from the start, because I was getting tremendous starts in the first few games. I wasn’t just able to capitalize on what I was getting to.
“I just told myself that if it’s there in my area, I’m just going to go take the bull by the horns. And yeah, fortunately, it worked for me and I hope that it keeps on working for me in the future as well, because the team is in a great space at the moment,” he added.
All praise for bowlers: Iyer said the experience of India’s bowling attack put together makes them a lethal unit and more importantly helps them decide on the right plan of action during a game.
“They are so experienced. They know exactly what is happening on the field. And as a batsman, we keep exchanging our information, especially if you’re going to bat next.
“They come in and they talk about the conditions, what is happening and in that conversation the bowlers are also around and they also watch what is happening on the field,” Iyer said.
The troika knows the art of picking wickets.
“I feel they are experienced enough to pick up how the wicket is playing and what they’ll be able to execute in the second innings, if we are bowling second. If they are bowling first, then definitely they are individual bowlers to know what is happening. And they’re so experienced that we don’t have to tell them basically anything,” Iyer added.