India won the second One Day International against West Indies by 3 wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match son Sunday. While Axar Patel scored an unbeaten quick fire 35-ball 64 to drive India to victory, Shreyas Iyer also registered his second fifty in a row to contribute with the bat.
In the absence of key players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, the likes of Iyer, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson were expected to step up.
By scoring 63 runs batting at three and building a 99-run partnership alongside Samson after India were 79 for three, Iyer did step up to the occasion in the second match to rescue his side.
“I was happy with what I scored today but really unhappy with the way I was dismissed. I thought I could have taken the team through easily. I was setting up the total and it was unfortunate that I lost my wicket. Hopefully, I can do better and score a century in the next match,” he said in the post-match press conference.
Converting these starts into a big score is something he is keen on.
“It’s really fortunate to get to fifty (back-to-back), but I should have converted to a hundred because I had got a good start. You don’t get these kinds of starts again and again in international cricket, and converting as many fifties to hundreds is very beneficial. I thought today was a great chance to do that.”
After India won the first ODI by three runs in a last-over thriller, the series conjured yet another thrilling contest in the second ODI at Trinidad as India chased 312. Talking about the atmosphere of the dressing room when India were batting, Iyer said with a smile, “It was fun, to be honest. We were all sitting together, and Rahul (Dravid) sir was getting very tensed; he was consistently passing on the message.”
He added: “I think a lot of players showed really good emotions out there and were very calm and composed in the pressure situation. And since we have played so many matches lately, I think we have already seen all these emotions. It was just another game for us. I think we did pretty well, especially Axar, the way he finished off today. It was an outstanding knock.”
Iyer is getting the chance to bat at number three for India in Virat Kohli’s absence, and the right-handed batter stated he is relishing the new position. However, it is likely that his batting position will be shuffled again when Kohli does come back into the XI.
“It (batting at number three) is one of the best positions to bat at. You go in at a tough situation. If the wickets fall, you go early and you have to see off the new ball and then build the innings. And also, if the opening partnership is very good, you have to carry it on and build on that from where they left. It is a fun position to bat at and I really enjoyed.
“Playing in the team is not in my hand. What I can do is train hard off the field and see to it that you know whenever I get the opportunity, I have to maximise it, and that’s what I have been doing. Today and the day before yesterday, I got the opportunity to represent my country that I feel is bigger than anything. I gave my 100 per cent, and when I left the field, I had no regrets.”
He added: “Hard work off the field always pays off. This is the reflection of what you do off the field. I am working hard because wickets and conditions are changing frequently, and you have to stay fit and keep motivating yourself. My mindset is that I will do my work and try to control the controllable.”