IPL 2022: Can batter Shreyas Iyer step up for Kolkata?

The brand of cricket they had played with Brendon McCullum at the helm made for an exciting prospect, making one wonder if Shreyas could unleash a newfound extra gear in the IPL.

Published: 09th May 2022 09:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2022 09:41 AM   |  A+A-

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Shreyas Iyer

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Shreyas Iyer (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: When Shreyas Iyer was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping Rs 12.25 crores, they had two underlying reasons.

For starters, he’s one of the excellent hitters against spin and has been a prolific runscorer in the IPL for Delhi Capitals since he became captain — three 400-plus seasons with the bat between 2018-2020. 

Although he got injured and missed the second phase of the 2021 season, in the lead up to the auction in February and even shortly after that, he was in red hot form for India – 204 runs in three T20Is against Sri Lanka at a strike rate of 174.35.

That is why, with Venkatesh Iyer at the top and Nitish Rana and Andre Russell after him, Shreyas looked a perfect fit at No 3 for KKR.

The brand of cricket they had played with Brendon McCullum at the helm made for an exciting prospect, making one wonder if Shreyas could unleash a newfound extra gear in the IPL.

“Right from ball one, they like to throw the punch and put you on the back foot. I go through with the same mindset whenever I go out to bat, and when I want to lead as a captain, I want such kind of intensity from my players as well,” he had said after being named as the captain.

But he hasn’t been able to execute the same so far. While 330 runs in 11 matches at a strike rate of 130.95 seem pretty good for an anchor, it doesn’t tell the full story.

Although the right-hander’s struggle against hard lengths and short-pitched deliveries with high-end pace is well known this year, it was laid out in the open by almost every side he was up against.

Whether it’s Umran Malik setting him up for a yorker with a bouncer barrage and making him dance, or Trent Boult, Dushmantha Chameera and Daniel Sams attacking his body, Shreyas has looked a lot more out of place than he has in the past.

That the other batters around him have failed rather spectacularly hasn’t helped his case either. 

But, it’s not just his batting that’s on the radar. One of the key reasons for his price in the auction is his captaincy, and that, too, hasn’t worked out very well this year.

That no team has made more changes to their playing XI than KKR is telling.

While it’s known that both DC and KKR are heavy support staff and data-driven sides when it comes to decisions, Shreyas hasn’t looked as assured as a skipper on the field as he has in the past. 

Kolkata are at a tricky position where they will have to win all of their remaining three matches to have a chance at making the top four. And for that, they need their Shreyas to rise to the occasion and deliver.

Today’s Match

KKR vs MI.

Live on Star Sports at 7.30 pm, Navi Mumbai.


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