KKR and Eden Gardens Await the Shreyas Iyer Effect

KKR captain Shreyas has joined team’s training on Sunday. PC: Debasis Sen

One of the most-talked-about buys at the IPL auction in February 2022 was Shreyas Iyer. Many had, in fact, predicted that Shreyas would be the most expensive acquisition, and it was a well-reasoned argument. Iyer, a genuine match-winner, had led Delhi with considerable success and was an obvious captaincy choice for the franchise that managed to draft him. KKR did, and much was expected from him.

“I have to tell you this. We were eyeing Shreyas for years now, and for the first time, made a pitch for him in the very first year that he had made himself available in the mini-auction,” recalled Venky Mysore, the KKR CEO. “At that point, Delhi outbid us and we couldn’t do much more. Thereafter I had even suggested the idea of a trade but it was rejected and rightly so. In 2022, we were determined to get him. And when we did, there was a sense of real elation around the table. We had got our captain and a serious match-winner. At this age, Shreyas has already achieved a lot and he will only get better with time.”

Since then, much has changed. Shreyas, despite a fantastic World Cup, has been in the news for the wrong reasons. He has lost his BCCI central contract for allegedly not wanting to play red-ball cricket. While we at RevSportz have written about his side of the story, the fact is that Iyer goes into IPL 2024 with plenty to prove.

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Shreyas, and the Ranji final was proof, is in good form. And donning the captain’s hat again, he will be hugely motivated going into the IPL. Losing out because of injury for a while, Iyer came back strong in the Ranji final against Vidarbha, and answered a few questions. That he was seen training on Saturday evening at the Eden Gardens is evidence that his back spasms are under control and he should be available from the start of the tournament.

Shreyas, unlike some, has scored thousands of runs in domestic cricket at a very healthy average of over 50. He also has a staggering strike-rate of nearly 80 in red-ball cricket. With the T20 World Cup on the immediate horizon, it is important for Iyer to re-establish himself as a reliable option, more because the team for the tournament will be selected half way into the IPL.

Mentally, it can be conjectured, Shreyas will be ready. He has a certain steel about him and that should help. With the wait finally over, it is now important to translate the hard yards into runs. That’s when the pain of the back spasms, of missing out on the central contract and a lot more, will have really been overcome. That’s when the comeback will be complete. Knowing Shreyas, he must be itching to get started. Getting ready for his opportunity to step out for KKR at the Eden Gardens and seizing the very first chance that comes his way. Together with Rishabh Pant, Shreyas is someone the selectors will be watching closely in the first few weeks of the IPL.

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