Mumbai's one-drop batsman unwilling to rest on his Ranji Trophy final ton against Saurashtra
Pune: Satisfaction is not something that comes easily to Shreyas Iyer. The highest run-scorer of the Ranji Trophy season lived up to his top billing by smashing his fourth hundred of the season with a 117-run knock yesterday.
Mumbai's Shreyas Iyer celebrates his century against Saurashtra in Pune yesterday. Pic/Mandar Tannu
In the process, the Worli lad helped Mumbai take the crucial first innings lead, became Mumbai's highest run-getter in a Ranji season (breaking Wasim Jaffer's record of 1260) and registered a ton in his maiden Ranji Trophy final.
He is now just 95 runs away from going past VVS Laxman's all-time record of 1415 runs (in the 1999-2000 Ranji season) with the second innings very much a possibility after Mumbai were reduced to 262 for eight on Day Two in reply to Saurashtra's 235 during the Ranji Trophy final at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje here yesterday.
"I am never satisfied with whatever I score. I am always hungry for more. I aim to break my own records rather than break others' records," Iyer said. Iyer made the lively pitch appear like a paata track. He hardly put a foot wrong in his 142-ball knock, sending the ball to the fence 15 times and twice into the stands.
After the 152-run third-wicket stand between Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav (48) was broken with the former mistiming a Chirag Jani delivery to mid-off, Mumbai lost six wickets for 87 runs, thanks to three wickets from Hardik Rathod and two wickets each from Jaydev Unadkat and Jani to open up the contest.
Iyer was ecstatic when he completed his century with a single at gully with chairman of national selectors Sandeep Patil and his co-selector Vikram Rathour applauding from the President's Box.
"It is really a big achievement. I wasn't thinking of any landmarks because you lose concentration and focus (if you do). I started all over again when I was in my 80s," Iyer said. About the selectors watching, he said: "It doesn't bother me if the selectors are watching me or not. It was important to do well in this match. If you do well in a final, people recognise you as a big match player," he said.
Iyer has been getting tips from many legends of the game. Asked which of them he would credit, he replied: "I wouldn't like to single out anybody. Everyone has had some role to play in my game, but I would like to credit myself for it (success). It is ultimately up to me to deliver and implement them (tips)."
Earlier, Iyer made his intention clear as he smacked the first ball he faced to the midwicket boundary. He had just faced the third ball of Mumbai's innings after opener Akhil Herwadkar caught at slips off Unadkat for a duck.
"I backed my instincts. It was a challenging wicket and I looked to play every ball on merit," he said. Saurashtra got one chance to get rid of Iyer when he was dropped at second slip by Arpit Vasavada for 37. If Saurashtra thought that would curb his aggression, they were mistaken. Three balls later, Iyer smashed medium pacer Deepak Punia over mid-off for a six.
Saurashtra 235 (A Vasavada 77, P Mankad 66, J Unadkat 31; D Kulkarni 5-42, S Thakur 3-89) trail Mumbai 262-8 (S Iyer 117, S Yadav 48, S Lad 22*; H Rathod 3-44, C Jani 2-46, J Unadkat 2-55)
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