Cricket is a game of patience. Test cricket in particular is the format that tests the real skills of a player. It is therefore a dream of every person who plays cricket to represent their country in the longest and the oldest format of the game. Representing the country in these whites is a matter of pride for cricketers.
Author:- Ashwin Jangam (Cricket Analyst, host, poet, entertainer )
Insta I'd:- cricket_creativity
The moment of pride was witnessed by the future star of Indian cricket, Shreyas Iyer, and he celebrated the moment by scoring a century, giving a billion people reason to celebrate.
He joined the elite list of players notching their hundred on their debut, becoming the 16th Indian to do so. His debut for Men in Blue came early, but his wait for red-ball cricket was a little long. His father, Santosh Iyer, is the truest fan of test cricket and kept his phone display picture as Shreyas disguised in whites to constantly remind him of the ultimate dream, yet unachieved. One can only imagine his happiness of his ward achieving a unique feat.
Iyer raised eyeballs for the first time in 2015 IPL when he was bought for INR 2.6 crores by Delhi Daredevils. The amount was the highest for any uncapped player till then. But he proved his class right in the first season scoring a mammoth total of 439 runs in the season, winning the award of Emerging Player of the tournament. He never looked back since then. His consistent performances in the India A tours earned him the India call in 2017 October. He scored 88 off 70 balls the first time he got to bat in an ODI.
His spot in the team was not fixed though. After doing a lot of experiments, eventually, Vijay Shankar was selected in the world cup 2019 squad ahead of Shreyas and Rayudu. But after Iyer’s first century in 2019 December, he almost sealed his spot for the no 4 in the Indian team permanently. His consistent performances helped Men in Blue to victory more often. He was also handed the captaincy of Delhi Capitals which he effectively did. He was also looked like the future star of Indian cricket, and a player to watch for the future as the captain of Men in Blue.
But, on 23rd March 2021, he dislocated his shoulder trying to field the ball in Pune ODI against England. Due to injury, he missed the entire IPL and was replaced by Rishabh Pant who led Delhi Capitals. Furthermore, he was dropped from the Indian side and replaced by other players. The consistent performances of Surya, Ishan made it difficult for Shreyas to return to the side. He joined the half of the second half of IPL as a player but was not selected in the main squad of the T20 world cup 2021. Even though he was in as a reserve player in the side, it was not worth his potential.
Fortunately, he was selected in the Indian squad for the Test series against New Zealand. In absence of Virat Kohli, Iyer was selected for playing at the spot no 5. He grabbed the opportunity with both his hands. Starting his innings with skipper Rahane, both stitched a good partnership. After the latter’s wicket, the former played with Jadeja and displayed his array of shots, and the duo played for the remainder of the day to help India post a decent total of 258/4, with Shreyas not out on 75. In the first session of the second day, he finished his hundred against a swinging duo of Southee and Jamieson. He accomplished the dream of his father.
Watching Shreyas bat in white-ball cricket is a habit of Indians, but very few knew his ability to play red-ball cricket. His statistics in domestic cricket prove his dominance in test matches. He also had noteworthy performances playing red-ball cricket for India A. His double hundred against the Aussies in a practice match in Mumbai was one of his best innings. In a nutshell, Iyer has proved himself as a test player right in his first match. He definitely will be a player to watch for Indian cricket in white-ball- cricket, but will he gets a chance in red-ball cricket for Indian, only time will tell. We can just hope he gets another chance once Virat comes again in the squad.