How I should be rated as captain is up to you people: Shreyas Iyer amid hype about Gambhir

By Kushan Sarkar

PTI, May 25, 2024, 6:58 PM IST

Image credit: PTI

Chennai: Shreyas Iyer-led teams have reached IPL final two times in the last four years. But the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper has little qualms about not being celebrated enough as a leader and ceding spotlight to their mentor Gautam Gambhir.

Iyer had led Delhi Capitals to the IPL title clash in 2020 before guiding KKR to this edition’s summit match against Sunrisers Hyderabad to be played here on Sunday.

Asked if he feels that his achievements as a leader haven’t received enough traction, the straight-talking Mumbaikar replied sharply.

“The hype is definitely created by you guys (media). Where I stand (as a skipper) is definitely on you (to decide),” Iyer replied to a query from PTI during the pre-match conference here on Saturday.

On Gambhir’s contribution as the mentor, Iyer termed him as one of the finest readers of the game in T20 format.

“About Gautam bhai, I feel he has got immense knowledge about how the game is played. He has won two titles previously with KKR, and his strategies have been spot-on in terms of what execution we have to make against the opposition.” Iyer seemed confident that KKR would come up trumps against SRH with Gambhir offering his invaluable inputs from the dug-out.

“Hopefully, we keep continuing with the same momentum with his knowledge.” The last six months has been quite a roller-coaster journey for the stylish right-hander, whose initial reluctance to play red-ball domestic cricket saw him lose the BCCI central contract.

Iyer did come back and play the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha where he scored a 95 in the second innings.

The 29-year-old had a middling IPL so far and also wasn’t remotely in contention for a berth in the T20 World Cup side.

The scars have not healed, and were evident when he spoke about how people didn’t believe him when he talked about his struggles with a back injury, which seemed to have resurfaced.

“I was definitely struggling after the World Cup in the longer format. When I raised my concern, no one was agreeing to it. But, at the same time, the competition was with myself,” said Iyer, who has scored more than 4000 runs in 124 games across three formats.

For Iyer, it was important to stay focused on the job at hand rather than thinking about what all had gone wrong.

“When IPL was approaching, all I wanted was to put my best foot forward. Whatever planning and strategizing we did before it and executing it to the best of our abilities, and that’s where we are right now,” he added.

Iyer had pulled out of the England Tests at home after the first two games and once he started training for the IPL.

Unlike others who loosely use the word adjustment and adaptability, Iyer admitted that it was easier said than done.

“The transformation from red ball to white ball is difficult as a batter and also as a bowler. So, it was difficult at the start, but once you get used to it, you pick up the pace and match on with the other players.” While Iyer did have a torrid time during February-March, he gradually started to get over his concerns about national selection once he appeared for Mumbai in the Ranji final.

“We won the final. I was a part of the team and also contributed in the final. It gives me immense pleasure to be playing so well in the last few months,” said Iyer, who headlined his team’s chase in the Qualifier 1 against SRH with a well-timed unbeaten 58.

“All I did was stay in the present and not think about what was going to happen to me or was worried about the selection process.

“I just wanted to come and participate and play to the best of my abilities,” he stated.

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