Shreyas Iyer could be the match-winner India is looking for: Dilip Vengsarkar

Whenever Shreyas Iyer steps out to bat, there should be a statutory warning: Bowling to this youngster can be injurious to your career.


And most of those, who have bowled to the 20-year-old batsman in domestic cricket, would agree.

Scores of 57 & 91 vs Railways, 137 vs Uttar Pradesh, 173 & 13 vs Baroda, 12 & 83 vs Tamil Nadu, 200 vs Punjab and 15 vs Andhra this season would give a clear picture of this serious talent, who bats at No.3 for Mumbai.

Knocks against Railways, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have been match-winning coming in difficult circumstances.

If Rohit Sharma said Iyer reminded him of swashbuckling Virender Sehwag, Mumbai’s chief selector Milind Rege said he has never seen such a ‘destructive’ batsman or a ‘destroyer’ in Mumbai cricket after Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli.

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar calls him ‘fearless’ and a ‘match winner’.

The opposition captains have special plans for Iyer while bowlers pray for a line or length that would stop him. Such has been his impact since he made his debut in December 2014.

All those praises and admirations point towards one question. Is Iyer ready to be promoted to the next level – international cricket?

“Why not?” said Vengsarkar.

“Shreyas is definitely ready for international cricket. I feel he could be the match-winner India is looking for,” added Vengsarkar, who is a former India selector and has a great eye for talent having discovered players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and captaincy skills of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“Shreyas is not afraid of any attack. He is aggressive and plays positive cricket all the time. What adds to his abilities is the confidence that he has in himself,” said Vengsarkar.

Rege seconded Vengsarkar saying Iyer is ready for the big stage. But he questioned the national selectors for not being present at the venue to watch him.

“He needs to be given opportunity to test himself at the higher levels. It is fair considering this batsman has so many runs in the game. He is able to score 160s and 170s whatever the quality of bowlers. He has scored against the likes of Praveen Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He has hit Bhuvi twice over extra cover for sixes.

“The issue here is that the selectors haven’t seen him scoring in Ranji Trophy. He is being judged on the runs (9) he got against Steyn & Co in the warm-up game for Board President XI vs South Africa at CCI and the India A performances (38 vs Bangaldesh A, 49 & 49 vs South Africa A).

“Also, look at the manner he has scored runs.”

Describing Iyer’s cricket, the former Mumbai skipper said he can change the game on his own. “How many batsman do you see who can win a match on their own in India. I don’t see anybody.

“Bowlers fear Shreyas. He is destructive. He is a special player we have got after a long time. Mumbai players are grafters. The last batsmen we saw in Mumbai who bowlers were afraid of were Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli. Rohit Sharma is a class act, but this guy has got some unbelievable shots for every ball,” said Rege.

Iyer has even impressed Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma with his array of strokes.

“An attacking batsman is always important for any side be it in T20s, ODIs or Tests. He takes the momentum away from opposition. Someone like Shreyas, the way he batted now, took the game away from opposition it was pretty difficult for the opposition to comeback.

“The kind of shots he played were simply amazing especially, the one over the covers shot against Bhuvi. Those are the shots you dream of and when you see it being played, it is always good,” Sharma said after the Uttar Pradesh game where Iyer scored 110-ball 137 with 14 fours and five sixes. Sharma also scored a ton in the same match but was overshadowed by Iyer’s entertaining knock.

Iyer has not just been a force to reckon with in Ranji Trophy, the youngster, who was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 2.6 crore, one of the highest for an uncapped player, lit up the previous IPL season scoring 439 runs in 14 games.

In Ranji Trophy
Mat Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100 50
Overall 20 32 1799 200 58.03 83.28 5 9
2015-16 6 9 781 200 83.75 99.49 3 3
2014-15 10 17 809 153 50.6 75.89 2 5