India will continue to play with more freedom but need to focus on executing the plans properly as they look to tick all the boxes in the run-up to the T20 World Cup, batsman Shreyas Iyer said on Friday after the eight-wicket loss to England in the first T20 International in Ahmedabad.
On the eve of the first T20I, India skipper Virat Kohli had said that he expects his team to play much more freely in the series against England.
Asked if India will need to step away from this new batting philosophy that Kohli spoke about following the team’s defeat in the first T20I, Iyer said: “Definitely, it won’t change because if you see the batting line up we have and the power-hitters down the line, we don’t have to change anything to be honest.
“We have come with a plan and we have to execute as much as possible because going into the World Cup we need to see to it that we have ticked all the boxes. This is a five match series, so it is a perfect time that we try different stuff and see what suits us,” Iyer said.
The selectors have picked IPL performers like Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia for the England series while the in-form Rishabh Pant has made a comeback.
Asked if he is under any pressure to perform, Iyer said: “I am in no sort of pressure to perform, I am playing freely, happily and enjoying my innings.”
Iyer came out to bat at No 5 after Rishabh Pant was promoted in the batting order.
“Coming into Indian team, you have to be flexible with which batting position you will be batting. I haven’t made any changes, it is just the mindset, what the team requires and batted according to the situation,” he said.
“It was a challenging situation, we had to keep playing natural game and keep ticking scoreboard irrespective of losing early wickets.”
Iyer, who captains Delhi Capitals in the IPL, said his experience of playing the league helped.
“I have been in this situation before, been there in IPL, it is not the first time. I knew I will get the odd boundary, and the momentum shifts if you get a partnership and then batters dominate bowlers, so from that point of view, their bowlers bowled well. It was their day and kudos to them.”
Asked the reason behind playing three spinners, he said: “We practiced on this surface before the match and when the spinners were bowling, it was stopping and turning, very similar to two-paced wicket which we played on. The plan was to play three spinners, as that’s our strength.”
Talking about his thought process when he came out to bat with the team struggling at 20/3, Iyer said: “I knew Rishabh was hitting well, my thought was to just take singles. He was the dominator at the time and I decided I will play ball to ball before the spinners come on.
“It worked pretty well for me. They bowled three overs of Adil and I was waiting for that one over. It was difficult to take on the bowlers in the initial phase but we had decided to go for 140-150 at that point of time but we kept losing wicket so obviously it didn’t work out for us.”
Iyer said he is carrying the momentum from his performance for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Asked if he has any message for Mumbai, Iyer said: “Mumbai doesn’t have to change anything and obviously Prithvi Shaw is in such good form, his mindset is on point now. I spoke to him also. I told him not to listen to anybody and play his game.”
(With inputs from PTI)
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