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After starring with a 33-ball 62 in India’s win over Bangladesh in the third T20I in Nagpur, Shreyas Iyer pointed to the three sixes he hit off Afif Hossain as the over that changed the course of the game.
Iyer said he’d give himself credit for playing the aggressor role in the middle overs, and explained that things could have been different had he not fired.
“Yes, I’d say that,” he told reporters when asked if his innings changed the couse of India’s innings. “Because the over in which I got three sixes changed the momentum completely. Otherwise we’d have finished with 150-155 which would have been tough to defend on this wicket as there was a lot of dew. The wicket was getting better in the second innings. I’d give myself credit for playing that role, and also KL (Rahul) the way he gave us the start. It was important for one of the top three batsmen to stay till the 15th over and he played his role really well.”
Iyer has all but sealed the No. 4 spot for himself, at least for the near future. He said he wanted to ‘set a benchmark’ for the No. 4 position, and added that the team management has backed him to do the role.
“We have planned as a team, the support staff and everyone have given me the freedom,” he said. “Not only me but all the batsmen that you need to have the intent when you bat. You should feel very positive when you’re batting. I feel personally that if the ball is pitching in my area, I’m not going to control myself and back my instincts. First few balls were tough for me to get to know the wicket. I took a little bit of time, I said I’m going to take 10 balls to settle in, and then back myself. When you believe that you can score in the latter half, it works out well.
“It has been really important last few series for me to set up the benchmark for the No. 4 position, for which all of us are competing at the moment. I think for me personally, they’ve given me a heads up that you’ll be there at No. 4, back yourself and believe in yourself. We need someone to bat till the end and finish the game even if Kohli or Rohit get out. I think that role is for No. 4. I was trying to replicate that today and it worked out really well.”
Iyer conceded there is plenty of competition within the team but said he competes only with himself.
“There’s a lot of competition going on within the team. I personally feel I compete with myself. I don’t want myself to be judged with anyone. When you say that this position is empty in the team, I’m really open minded that I can bat at any number. I just like to back myself in tough situations, and today’s innings really stated that I can bat udner pressure as well. It was important for me and the team,” he said.
Talking about the match, the Mumbai batsman said India were ‘lethargic’ initially but Rohit Sharma’s pep talk changed their body language.
“We were feeling the pressure. We know that they’re a really good team. There’s no team in T20 which we can underestimate. In the previous two games, we’ve seen that the quality of cricket they’ve played has been really mesmerising,” he said of Bangladesh. “We were going a bit lethargic at the start but once they started going, Rohit called all players and gave us a pep talk which was motivating. After that we were determined to win the game.
“Not surprised (that Bangladesh played well), I’ve seen the previous series on TV. They’ve always come close to Indian team’s necks. I feel that they are a very good team playing in subcontinent. The quality of batting they showed, improvising the reverse sweep, sweep, manipulating the bowlers, there are a lot of things to learn from Bangladesh as well. We’ve spoken about it in the team meetings as well, that we should practise reverse sweeps that can help us in turning tracks.”
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