Shreyas Iyer slammed 71 off 68 balls as India registered a 59-run win against the West Indies in Trinidad. (Image credit: BCCI Twitter)
Virat Kohli was on course to score his 42nd century but he needed some support from the other end. Rishabh Pant squandered his opportunity to seal the number spot when he was dismissed for 20. Shreyas Iyer, batting at number five, showed positivity and confidence and shared a 125-run stand with Kohli. While the Indian cricket team skipper slammed his eighth century against West Indies, Iyer showcased his mettle and slammed 71 off 68 balls to help India reach a total which proved to be a bit too much for the West Indies.
Speaking after the end of the match, Iyer said he expected a consistent run in the side after his fifty and what was his strategy while batting with Virat Kohli.
"I want to stay in the team for a while, the consistency is always important, I want to play well and contribute to the team. It was a fruitful day. I knew I was going to do well, I played for India A and I played in these grounds, paced my innings well and think it went well. I decided that I wouldn't take any risks, Virat told me that we needed to build a partnership and take the innings deep. He supported me very well, we took the ones and twos, hit the boundaries when it came. We decided 250 was a good score, obviously we got 30 runs extra. He told me to bat at least until the 45th over, I am thankful for what I managed," Iyer said.
The knock of 71 earned praise from former India captain Sunil Gavaskar who said Iyer should be given the No.4 spot and that Rishabh Pant should be batting at number five.
"In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher because that's where his natural game and natural flair will come into play. If India get to a great start with Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma batting for 40-45 overs, then Pant at No. 4. But if it's a question of batting for 30-35 overs, then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No. 4 and Pant at No. 5," Kohli said.
Gavaskar said he expected Iyer to get a longer run after his fifty. "I think, if this doesn't help him get a more permanent slot in the Indian middle-order, I don't know what will. In the five matches, he played before this, he scored 2 fifties and hit a highest score of 88. He hadn't done anything wrong to be left out of the 14 (15) (World Cup). But that's in the past. Now he has come back and scored a 71 in his first opportunity. So I think he will get a longer run," Gavaskar said.