Ranji Trophy: India needs players like Shreyas Iyer, says Rohit Sharma
The motley crowd present at the Wankhede Stadium left with smiles on their faces as they got what they wanted to see — the elegance of Rohit Sharma. And Shreyas Iyer's cracker of an innings was like an icing on the cake. Mumbai dominated the show on Day One of the Group 'B' Ranji Trophy tie against Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, posting 407 for four, scoring at a rate of 4.62 per over.
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Mumbai's Shreyas Iyer celebrates his century against Uttar Pradesh at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Pics/Atul Kamble
The two baffling decision by UP were electing to field after winning the toss and exclusion of left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar, who claimed 10 wickets in the last match against Gujarat.
Young sensation Iyer was flawless during his 181 minutes at the crease in which he plundered 14 boundaries and five sixes for his 110-balls 137, his third century of the season in four matches, while Rohit smashed an unbeaten 110 (13x4s and 1x6).
Birthday boy and skipper Aditya Tare and Akhil Herwadkar gave the hosts a steady start after UP put Mumbai in. The right-left combination posted 55 for the first wicket before Tare was caught at first slip by Himanshu Asnora for 30. Iyer watchfully cleared the ball at will and his supreme control helped the 20-year-old dominate the UP pacers.
The confidence with which Iyer played his shots was admirable. He stepped out twice to leggie Piyush Chawla and once to Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav to dispatch the ball into the stands. With the kind of ease he was toying the UP bowlers, at one point it looked he would overtake opener Herwadkar, who was caught by wicketkeeper Eklavya Dwivedi while trying to cut off Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 58, thus ending the 106-run second wicket partnership.
Rohit Sharma en route his unbeaten 110 at Wankhede on Saturday
The other striking aspect of Iyer's Saturday's knock was that he gave no chance to the bowlers to claim his wicket. The only chance came when he tried to cut Bhuvneshwar's wide ball and ended up edging it to the wicketkeeper. Iyer's attacking show left Rohit awestruck. "The way he hit that inside out shot over covers to Bhuvi…you can only imagine it in dreams. He played perfectly. He likes to attack and India needs players like him. I am sure in coming years we will see him. He reminds me a bit of Virender Sehwag," Rohit told reporters.
However, runs flowing freely from Iyer's blade made Rohit concentrate on what he had planned to do. "I was not looking at scoring 100 or 150 or how fast I score them. I wanted to utilise my time well. I wanted to face as many balls as I could and spend as much time on the wicket so when I go back to Bangalore (for the second Test vs SA), I know I have utilised my time well. My mindset was not to score a 100," he said.
Mumbai 407-4 (S Iyer 137, R Sharma 110*, A Herwadkar 58; B Kumar 2-97) vs Uttar Pradesh