Shreyas Iyer is keen to be different from his peers. Unlike other youngsters in IPL-8, who believe in dishing out dazzling performances with an array of flashy shots, the 20-year-old Mumbaikar is keen to succeed in the Twenty20 era playing pure cricketing shots.
Delhi Daredevils' Shreyas Iyer plays one square of the wicket during an IPL-8 match against Rajasthan Royals at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday. Pic/BCCI
Iyer also has good reason to back himself to play copybook shots too. In his debut first-class season, he finished as Mumbai's highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy, scoring 809 in 10 matches (including two centuries and six half-centuries).
At Delhi Daredevils, Iyer has overtaken the likes of skipper JP Duminy and former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh to top the batting charts with 290 runs in nine matches so far. And he's done all this minus the noise. "I am a flamboyant player, but I don't believe in playing flashy strokes.
I know the shots that I have are good enough to fetch me runs, so I don't need to go for flashy strokes," Iyer tells mid-day while referring to a question on youngsters trying the scoop shot, the helicopter shot and the paddle sweep.
Iyer did not have a good game against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday at the Brabourne Stadium, but the 20-year-old is keen to make the most of the opportunity of playing at his other home ground, the Wankhede Stadium, when Delhi take on Mumbai Indians today.
Iyer says it's important to get the timing right to succeed as a batsman. "I believe in timing the ball well because if you hit the ball really well, it can end up in the stands. Timing is very important. I play on the merit of a ball and my instinct. I don't pre-plan my shots," says the Worli resident.
However, by no means does he wants to give the impression that he has matured too early. "Don't think I am a sober guy," he says. "I have coloured my hair. I did that before the IPL began… just to get a feel of it. I like to experiment (with my looks)," he adds.
Iyer was the most expensive uncapped player bought in the last IPL auction, when Delhi Daredevils splurged Rs 2.6 crore on him. But he isn't worried about the pressure that comes with a huge price tag.
"I simply want to prove Delhi right because they made me feel I am worth so much. Other than that, there is no pressure," he says.
Iyer has always been in august company right from his childhood. He trained under former India batsman Pravin Amre, who is currently the assistant coach Delhi Daredevils. He has been in the company of Mumbai Ranji Trophy stalwart Wasim Jaffer.
Presently, he has Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj, Duminy and India's 2011 World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten in the Daredevils camp. Obviously, there have been a lot of lessons learnt.
"I have learnt a lot here with DD. I've learnt to play freely, without any pressure. It has also helped change my attitude quite a bit. I have learnt to soak in pressure, react to different situations in a game and many other things. It has been an invaluable experience," he signs off.