Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer Photo: BCCI

Ravichandran Ashwin, the Team India off-spinner reckons that Shreyas Iyer will be a crucial batter for the hosts in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Rishabh Pant’s absence.

Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of the first Test against Australia, which starts on February 9 in Nagpur, due to a back injury, which kept him out of the white-ball series against New Zealand as well. According to a report, the 28-year-old needs to spend more time in rehab to recover.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Ravichandran Ashwin: Shreyas Iyer Has Been India’s Go To Test Batter Alongside Rishabh Pant In The Last 2 Years And Will Be A Crucial Player In The Keeper’s Absence

The middle-order batter is, however, expected to join the Indian squad for the second Test, which begins in Delhi on February 17.

Sharing his views on Shreyas Iyer’s significance to the Indian red-ball team, especially with Rishabh Pant unavailable, Ravichandran Ashwin said on his channel: “Shreyas Iyer has been India’s go-to Test batter alongside Rishabh Pant in the last couple of years. That in itself is a lesser compliment for him. He has been the backbone of this batting order. He is going to be a crucial player for India in Pant’s absence.”

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Rishabh Pant, who is likely to be out of action from cricket for a while following his car accident, was one of India’s standout performers with the bat during the previous Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under.

In fact, he has been one of the team’s most consistent red-ball batters over the last couple of seasons. In 33 Tests, the keeper-batter has scored 2271 runs at an average of 43.67, with five hundreds and 11 fifties.

One of the key contributors to the side’s dominant comeback in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Test series in Australia was young wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant. The then 24-year-old wicketkeeper didn’t let the side down, as he smashed 274 runs in three games averaging 68.5 including an unbeaten 89 at the Gabba in the second innings – a knock that steered India to a famous series win.

Shreyas Iyer May Be Replaced By Uncapped Suryakumar Yadav In The 1st Test

Shreyas Iyer was a key member of the Indian team that beat Bangladesh 2-0 in the Test series in December last year, scoring two half-centuries in three innings. He subsequently registered scores of 28, 28, and 38 in Team India’s 3-0 ODI series win against Sri Lanka.

The 28-year-old complained of a stiff back immediately after the final ODI and was ruled out of the white-ball series against New Zealand. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) medical team asked him to head to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru as a precautionary measure.

Shreyas Iyer. (Photo: BCCI)
Shreyas Iyer. (Photo: BCCI)

The Mumbai batter made an unforgettable Test debut against New Zealand in Kanpur in November 2021, registering scores of 105 and 65. He thus became the first Indian player to notch up a hundred and a fifty on Test debut. In seven Tests, he has scored 624 runs at an average of 56.72, with one century and five fifties.

In Shreyas Iyer’s absence in the 1st Test, in form Shubman Gill or uncapped Suryakumar Yadav could occupy one of the middle-order slots. If Shubman Gill opens alongside skipper Rohit Sharma, there is also the possibility of KL Rahul batting in the middle order. Suryakumar Yadav is yet to debut in Tests. But he has featured in 79 First Class games where he amassed 5549 runs averaging 44.75 with 14 tons and 28 fifties.