Shreyas looks to silence his inner demons against the short ball

PC – RevSportz
As the Indian squad geared up for their crucial ICC Men’s ODI World Cup match against Sri Lanka at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, all eyes were on Shreyas Iyer during Tuesday’s practice session.
Among the seven players present for this practice session, Shreyas was in the spotlight. The group included Suryakumar Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan, and KL Rahul. While Suryakumar showcased his trademark unorthodox shots, encompassing sweeps, flicks, and scoops, Shreyas was intently focused on enhancing his capabilities against a specific type of delivery – the short ball.
Iyer’s proficiency against spin is well-established, making him one of the finest players of slow bowling. However, his challenges lie in facing deliveries that rise awkwardly, causing him discomfort. Therefore, the practice session primarily revolved around combating the short delivery menace. Skilled throwdown specialists, Nuwan and Raghu, were in action, relentlessly delivering spicy bouncers to challenge Iyer.
Determined to improve his ability to handle short-pitched deliveries, he vigorously practiced his pulls and hooks, fully aware that Sri Lankan bowlers would likely employ the bouncer strategy upon his arrival at the crease. He batting regimen was divided into three segments, with intermittent breaks in between. Notably, the session was a collective effort, with Head Coach Rahul Dravid joining the throwdown specialists to provide him with the necessary preparation against the short ball.
Shreyas’ performance in the World Cup has not lived up to the expectations set for him. After initiating the tournament with a duck against Australia in Chennai, he posted an unbeaten 25 against Afghanistan and an unbeaten half-century (53*) against Pakistan in Ahmedabad. However, his subsequent appearances have been less than spectacular. A 19-run inning against Bangladesh in Pune, followed by a 33-run knock against New Zealand in Dharamsala, and a mere four runs against England in Lucknow, have left many wanting more from Shreyas. 
His dismissal in the game against England, where he was caught napping against a short ball has raised questions about his place in the team. With Suryakumar demonstrating his capability to turn the tide, as exemplified by his impressive 49-run knock on a challenging pitch in Lucknow, Shreyas’ spot in the playing XI might be in jeopardy once Hardik Pandya re-enters the lineup in the upcoming games.
As Shreyas returns to his hometown of Mumbai, he’s set to play on a pitch he knows like the back of his hand. This fixture presents a golden opportunity for him to amass significant runs, but it’s also a test of his mettle. Anything less than an impactful performance could place his position in the XI under scrutiny. In ODIs, Shreyas has played only one match at the Wankhede Stadium, where India secured the 2011 ODI World Cup. However, it wasn’t a memorable homecoming, as he was dismissed for just four runs against Australia in 2020. 
India’s encounter with Sri Lanka is laden with significance for Shreyas, not only as a redemption opportunity but also to reaffirm his worth in the Indian squad. And his quest to overcome the short-pitched demons will be put to the test on familiar territory.

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