3 areas where Shreyas Iyer can improve to cement his ODI spot

Shreyas Iyer has once again managed to silence most of his critics in some style during the ongoing ODI series against the West Indies. The 27-year-old has already amassed 117 runs in two innings with a couple of half-centuries that have been crucial in the Men in Blue‘s two victories so far.

The Mumbai batter currently looks well-settled in the No. 3 position. He was also pretty vocal about how much he likes batting in this position after the end of the second ODI on Sunday. However, deep down Iyer will know that once Virat Kohli is back from his break, the 33-year-old will take back his No. 3 spot.

There was a time after the 2019 World Cup when a string of consistent performances from Shreyas Iyer made everyone believe that he was the best solution to the ‘No. 4’ conundrum.

However, a serious shoulder injury last year kept him out of action for almost half a year and that helped players like Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul leapfrog him in that role in the middle-order. Suryakumar Yadav and Deepak Hooda’s fantastic T20I performances have added even more competition to the spot that was once nailed down by Iyer.

With Pant scoring a century in the No. 4 position and Rahul set to be back at No. 5 once he is fit, Shreyas Iyer might have only a few chances left to move up the pecking order in the ODI team.

To still have an impact and make it almost impossible for the selectors to drop him, the 27-year-old might need to improve in certain areas. Here are some of them:

#3 Knowing when to change gears

Shreyas Iyer playing with the strike rate of 88 on this track. Selfish innings? Could have played faster? #INDvWI

Suryakumar Yadav is an incredible player of spin and knows when to accelerate. This perhaps could have been the reason why he was preferred over Shreyas Iyer in the ODI series against England. Although Iyer has all the runs to show, it is his approach that needs to change a bit.

At times, Iyer might walk out to bat in situations where a stage has been set by the top-order. During such games, if the middle-order slows down from overs 20 to 40, they end up falling short of the par score more often than not.

He also has a strike rate of just above 66 in the powerplay in ODIs, which is not that great given the field restrictions. So this is something that Shreyas Iyer definitely needs to give a thought about.

#2 Reducing dot-ball percentage

My Chad idolo Shreyas Iyer- Comes in- hits to crunchy boundaries- Spends 3 – 4 dots- Goes for a heroic shot- Gets out

This is an issue that Shreyas Iyer has also faced in T20s. He played a crucial hand of 54(57) in the first ODI against the West Indies. However, many felt that India could have easily breached the 350-run mark. One of the talking points was his partnership with Shikhar Dhawan.

While Dhawan was well set, Iyer inititally struggled to rotate the strike and played quite a few dot balls. He was mostly looking for a couple of release shots to get out of the situation, but that may not work all the time.

So focusing on keeping the scoreboard ticking rather than building pressure on himself and his partner is definitely a very important factor that Iyer needs to assess.

#1 Countering the short-ball ploy

#ShreyasIyer Work in progress,hope Joseph bowl more short balls to Iyer in next match because it will help him as a practice and give confidence of playing shortball #IndvsWI

Shreyas Iyer has a release shot against the short-ball tactic, which involves moving within the crease, making room and then slashing the ball over the point. However, that has now been found out by most of his opponents as they don’t let him create any width by cramping him for room.

Iyer has been dismissed quite a few times against short balls across formats. This is definitely the biggest worry for the team management as the 27-year-old probably won’t be able to sustain a long international career unless he works on his weaknesses.

He wasn’t as exposed to the short ball against the West Indies since by the time they tried it, he was already set. However, he might come to bat in a situation where the speedster has their tails up and will pepper him with a barrage of bouncers.

11 fifties and a hundred in just 26 ODI innings is an incredible achievement. What will keep Shreyas Iyer’s place intact in the team, however, is probably the degree of assurance he gives while countering the aforementioned issues.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee

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