"Would Like To Thank Myself": 'Lonely' Shreyas On Triumphant ODI Return

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Shreyas Iyer in press conference after 2nd ODI against Australia© Video Grab

Doubts can creep in when one has to deal with frequent injuries but Shreyas Iyer says it was his unflinching belief in his abilities that helped him to bounce back from a lonely phase. The Asia Cup that India won marked Iyer's comeback from a back surgery after six months but a back spasm in the middle of the tournament meant he only got to bat once over the course of two weeks. However, the 14 off nine balls he made in India's opener against Pakistan gave him a lot of confidence as he desperately waited for another opportunity.

The chance finally came in Mohali last week but he got run out. Facing competition for a spot in India's middle-order for the World Cup, Iyer finally delivered under pressure in the second ODI against Australia on Sunday.

"I was desperate to come back and come back strong. I was waiting to convert the starts which I got in the previous games. Today I got the opportunity, I am grateful," said Iyer after a match-winning 105 off 90 balls.

"To be honest I was not doubting my abilities because I knew I was batting brilliantly in the nets, also the start I got against Pakistan. Just a matter of one innings and I knew it was around the corner, thankfully I was able to execute," he added.

Iyer was fully aware of the competition he was up against but despite being in helpless situation that saw him miss the majority of the Asia Cup, he managed to stay calm.

"It was definitely a roller coaster ride. I would like to thank myself to be honest. For believing in my abilities and mindset at that point of time. I was feeling a bit lonely but thanks to my physios, my trainers, my family they backed me, grateful to have them around.

"I keep telling myself competition is against me. It is about mindset that I maintain especially when the chips are down. My mind was fluctuating at times but I was trying to stay away from the outside noise. As they say ignorance is bliss so taking one step a time and staying in the present and not thinking about what happened and what will happen in the future."

'It was one of my finest innings'

Considering the circumstances, Iyer rates his third ODI hundred very highly.

"It was one of my finest innings, especially coming out of an injury. I was eagerly waiting to come back and perform for the team. All these game we are getting before the World Cup, it is a good platform for us, especially me as I have not got a lot of games under my belt." He was all praise for Shubman Gill with whom he forged a 200-run stand that enabled India to amass 399 for five.

"Yes Shubman Gill is in tremendous form lately and the way he is converting his starts is simply phenomenal. In the World Cup, we will be needing such starts and he is in a great mind space, the routines that he has been maintaining throughout travelling and recovery."

'Sure Australia are treating these ODI as practice games'

Both the Indian and Australian team management have been resting key players in the series with an eye on the World Cup. India sealed the series on Sunday, handing Australia their fifth consecutive loss in their last five ODIs.

However, Iyer is not reading too much into Australia's form ahead of their World Cup clash in Chennai on October 8.

"We know how the Australian team is. The way they plan their stuff, I am sure they are playing these games as practice games and they want to build momentum going forward.

"They are experimenting ahead of the World Cup and also they are giving chances to players who can get a fair chance to see how the conditions are in India.

"At the same time they play challenging cricket, I am sure they would be planning well in the future games against India and also when I come in to bat. We are never going to take them lightly, they can hurt you at times." Iyer battled with cramps towards the end of his innings but came out to field in Australia's innings.

"I am okay now but I was getting serious cramps. I was not able to hold my grip. Even the caught and bowled which happened (which was overturned by tv umpire as the bowler was not in full control of the catch), I just played with the bottom hand. My mind was anxious but I told myself to put the beast mode on,” said Iyer who was dismissed two balls later in the same over from Sean Abbott.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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