MUMBAI: Shreyas Iyer has “no problem” dealing with fast bowlers targeting him with short deliveries. The India batter was emphatic as he took on the perception that he has a weakness in his game.
“When you say it’s a problem for me, what do you mean?” he started at the post-match press conference after he made 82 off 56 balls to help defeat Sri Lanka and seal India’s passage to the World Cup semi-final. “Have you seen how many pull shots I’ve scored, specially which has gone for four?”
Shreyas has a good strike rate against the short ball – 135.44. And almost 20% of the fours he’s hit (34 out of 191) in his ODI career have come off short balls. The thing is, he also averages 21.40 against the short length, which means in the process of going for these big shots, he’s getting out a lot.
Shreyas’ argument, though, is that’s life as a batter. “You know if you try to hit a ball, you’re bound to get out anyway whether it’s a short ball or overpitched. If I get bowled two or three times, you all would say he can’t play an inswinging ball, he can’t play if the ball is seaming. You guys have created that mahol [feeling] 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.
“Coming from Mumbai, especially from Wankhede, where the bounce is pretty much even and you know it bounces way more than any other pitches. I’ve played a majority of my game here. So I know how to tackle it. 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. Majority of the time 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.”
Teams are trying to bounce Shreyas out. In this World Cup, he has faced 107 balls from the quicks and 51 of them have been short or short of a good length. He’s scored 60 runs off those 51 deliveries, with seven fours and a six, and got out twice.
“There’s a lot of talk in the media, which all of you do,” Shreyas said. “But I am confident about my game and myself, and I am serious enough to play certain deliveries. I may get out again and again, but I don’t mind, to be honest. As long as I believe in myself and my team-mates are confident about me. They support me, and that’s all that matters, that’s what motivates me.”