It was a day of mixed emotions for Shreyas Iyer. He was named in the Indian T20 team for the upcoming series against Windies and Australia overnight and celebrated the call up by scoring a ton in the Deodhar Trophy final. However, his effort wasn’t enough as India B lost the final by 29 runs in the final against India C at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium on Saturday.
Iyer scored a magnificent 148 from 114 deliveries that included 11 fours and eight sixes, but wasn't enough to take his side over the line. On the flipside, his ton was only a vindication that he deserved a spot in the Indian team.
"I was disappointed in the end for not being able to finish the match,” he said. “That's because we came so close to chasing a big target, and I could have easily taken a single on the Rahul Chahar ball I got out on. I was in good flow, and went for the six. But in the end the biggest positive is that I got the team to 320 at least. Had we taken the charge from the first ball itself, we would have ended up getting 150.
"When you're batting at number three, you need to play that anchor role especially when you're chasing such high targets. It was really important for me to bat till the very end and my focus was only to get a good start. Once I got set, I backed my instincts to get the runs. I wanted to bat till the 40th over, and that's how I built my innings."
Iyer hasn’t been able to hold down a regular place in the Indian team, although he has been given a few opportunities. While saying this latest call-up didn’t get him too excited, he insisted there was no jealousy among the group of batsmen who are competing with each other to get a chance to don India colours.
"This time when I got selected for the Indian team, I didn't react much,” he said. “The simple reason for that was that I wanted to concentrate on the match and do well here. When you play in the Deodhar Trophy you should understand that you're here because you've done well. I knew that I'm in the selectors' scheme of things so performing well here was of utmost importance.
"It's a great thing when there is competition and challenge. So the person aiming to go higher will have to do even better. All of us are in that zone currently."
While Iyer regretted his century couldn’t help his team over the line, India C opener Ishan Kishan was pleased that his three-figure scored secure the title. Along with Ajinkya Rahane, who also got a ton, the pair set up India C’s big target. Initially, Kishan couldn't score runs freely and was just six from first 31 deliveries but he explained that playing the waiting game was a tactical ploy.
"When we came out to bat the wicket was not that good to bat on. There was moisture,” he said. “So Rahane and I were talking in between the overs that we have to see off the first few over, and wait for the spinners to come on. So we executed the plan well.
"Opening the batting today totally depended on the fact that two of our openers were not playing today. With Abhinav Mukund and R Samarth not playing, the coach asked me to open the innings. Being an opener, it was great for me in the end that I got runs."
Now that the southpaw has made it to the India A squad to New Zealand, he wants to churn out runs on that assignment too and ensure his Ranji side Jharkhand do well in the Ranji trophy.
"Adapting to different formats of the game is not a problem,” he said. “As a player you need to be able to do that. I have enough experience to perform well in New Zealand and in India. And when you keep performing well, you will be selected for the team. So now I have to wait for my chances.”