Team India’s middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer has admitted that making his Test debut against New Zealand in Kanpur was a challenge considering the last red-ball game he played was nearly three years back. However, he asserted that he took up the situation as an opportunity to prove himself at the Test level.
The 26-year-old Mumbai batter was handed a Test debut in Kanpur after KL Rahul was ruled out of the series due to injury while Virat Kohli was rested for the 1st Test. Shreyas grabbed his chance with both hands and became the 16th Indian to hit a century on Test debut.
At a press conference following the second day’s play, Shreyas revealed he worked on getting his mindset right for the Test format once he came to know that he was going to debut. The right-handed batter said:
“When I came to Kanpur, I didn’t know that I was going to play. But Rahul (Dravid) sir and the skipper came to me and told me that I was going to play. Suddenly, I had to get into the mindset of red-ball cricket. The last red-ball match I played was almost three years back, which was the Irani Trophy.”
“But I took this up as an opportunity and a challenge as well. Once you play white-ball cricket for so long and then getting back to red-ball cricket, that mindset has to be set and the routine has to be on point. That’s what I focused on rather than thinking how I am going to play.”
Shreyas added that he didn’t expect to receive his Test cap from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, thinking Rahul Dravid would give it to him. He stated:
“It was like a fairy tale to be honest. I never thought that I would be getting the cap from Sunil sir. I obviously thought that Rahul sir would give it to me. But, both are legends of the game and if either of them had given me the cap, I would have been happy. It’s a great feeling and the way everything panned out, I was really happy but not satisfied with the way I got out.”
Shreyas made 105 off 171 balls before being caught off Tim Southee’s bowling. India’s innings folded up for 345 as Southee claimed five.
“My aim is to think about today” – Shreyas Iyer on Virat Kohli returning for 2nd Test
Shreyas might not have played in Kanpur had captain Virat Kohli not been on rest. Asked about the uncertainty over his spot in the middle order, the youngster became philosophical and responded:
“Sunil Gavaskar sir, when he gave me the cap, he told me one important point – you don’t have to think about the past, you don’t have to think about the future. All you’ve got is present and you’ve got to focus on the next ball. My aim is to think about today and not about what’s going to happen in the next game. If I think about that, I won’t be in present and won’t be able to perform. Whatever happens, happens for the best. I’ll take it in my stride and move forward.”
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After Shreyas’ hundred guided India to 345, New Zealand openers Will Young (75*) and Tom Latham (50*) added 129 by Stumps on Day 2.
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