Former Indian batter turned coach Wasim Jaffer wants Team India’s middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer to improve his batting skills against fast-bowling and short-pitch bowling, claiming his spot will be “up for grabs” once Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav return to India’s T20I team as well. However, Iyer has scored 90 runs from three games against South Africa while playing at No. 3 in the ongoing five-match T20I series at home. Although he’s among the top scorers for India, he has looked uncomfortable against quick short-pitch balls.
In a recent interaction with ESPNcricinfo, Jaffer said: “Shreyas Iyer is batting at No. 3 and you always have expectations from your top-order players because [they] get to play more overs. In the last match, it was a very good [opening] partnership and you (Iyer) try to play more shots than usual to continue that momentum and take your team to the score of 190-200. But yes… he needs to be a bit better against fast bowling because they bowl short against him. The T20 World Cup is in Australia where there will be bounce and it won’t be easy to score runs square of the wicket on the big grounds. He needs to focus on that and improve a bit.”
On the other hand, Suryakumar Yadav, who was in great form for Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2022 and missed the last few games due to an injury, is considered more reliable against pace and spin. Jaffer added that despite the pressure, Iyer’s role is now to help India win the rest two matches of the series as well. However, Iyer has been given the rest for India’s tour of Ireland as he will take part in the Test team that’ll play against England in early July. Suryakumar will return to the former squad and is likely to occupy the No. 3 spot as well.
Wasim Jaffer explained: “Avesh Khan is the only one in the Indian team who hasn’t got a wicket and has proven to be a bit expensive. But considering India didn’t make a change after losing two games, I don’t think we’ll see any changes in this match as well. Rahul Dravid and Rishabh Pant maybe want to continue with the winning combination. A new incoming player would be playing a game after a long time so you can’t expect a lot from him… Had India won the series already, we might have seen some changes but this is a very important match to win for the series and we may not see too many changes.”
“The Rajkot pitch is considered very good for batting. Expect a high-scoring match with 190-200 runs possible. The team winning the toss will want to bowl first… It’s very hot in Rajkot at this time as well. So winning the toss is very important for India (smiles)… If they bat first – India will have to keep a similar approach (to the last match) and try to not make any mistakes between the 13th and 18th overs. South Africa tries to bowl outside the off-stump; Pretorius and the like keep it outside your arc… Keeping the Rajkot wicket in mind, you’ll have to score 15-20 runs above par because defending the score won’t be easy,” Wasim Jaffer concluded.