Mumbai, Feb 19: Young Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer today, February 19, said that the India A tour to Australia has helped him grow as a player.
Recalling a similar tour game against South Africa, where he did not have much success, Iyer said that he has become a more relaxed batsman since then.
“I was facing Dale Steyn (during the tour game against SA) for the first time and it was really tough as a youngster. He was in peak form…no complaints.
“Recently I got 100 against Bangladesh (2-day game in Hyderabad) and with that motivation, I came into this game. “The flow also went well and I am really happy,” Iyer told reporters after the drawn game between India A and Australia, in which he scored his career-best 202 not out in a first innings total of 403.
“I am a bit more relaxed, not thinking much about the opposition, talking to myself rather than focusing on what goes on around me except field positions.
The India A tour to Australia was an amazing experience. “It was a first time for me in Australia. Bowlers were also good over there. There was not even bounce; either balls were staying a bit low or bouncing. “They were really seaming wickets and it (tour) has played a major role,” he added.
Iyer, who struck seven sixes and 27 fours during his 210-ball knock, said he wanted to take it session by session. “I was just planning to play session by session, splitting my score into 10 runs and it worked well. We also were losing wickets and as soon as I reached 184 I decided to just charge the bowler (Stephen O’Keefe) and try to make it in one single over as we had just one wicket in hand.
“I was just playing on merit of the ball. I have worked hard throughout the season and it has paid off well. It’s a special innings against an international team. I really played nice strokes.
“I hardly got any chances while batting; usually I get life and all that. This was one of my best innings,” said the 22-year-old who got his ninth first-class century in 38 games and also went past his previous best score of 200 against Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium in October 2015.
Although Nathan Lyon went for 162 runs while taking four wickets, Iyer rated his bowling better than O’Keefe’s, who claimed three for 101. “He’s (O’Keefe) a left-arm spinner. It’s easier to play with the spin, but Lyon was getting good bounce and bowling straight too, so he was more effective than Stephen,” he said.
Lyon was also hit by tail-ender Krishnappa Gowtham for four huge sixes on his way to a whirlwind 74 off 68 balls. Gowtham and Iyer added 138 runs in as many balls for the seventh wicket.
“He (Lyon) was not that happy when Gowtham came in and started attacking him. He was really disappointed by the way he (Gowtham) hit him (Lyon). “He started asking me who is this guy. I told him he’s an off spinner. Later he asked me whether he was acting (of injuring his hamstring) when fielding. He was not that happy when he was taken off after six overs,” said Iyer.