Legendary Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan on Friday reserved the highest praise for India’s 27-year-old promising star, Shreyas Iyer for his stunning knock against Sri Lanka in the first T20I of the three-match series in Lucknow.
Iyer, who was included in the T20I playing XI for the second time in a row following the absence of Virat Kohli, scored a 28-ball 57 that helped India finish with 199 for two in 20 overs, batting first in Lucknow.
Impressed with his batting, Pathan told Star Sports that Iyer had answered his critics with the bat and hailed his six-hitting spree in the game, calling it stylish.
“This guy has the swag. When this boy is in form, it is enjoyable to watch. The big shots he plays, he doesn’t stay at one spot, but despite that, the balance he generates, it is his own ability. I like the non-looker six he hits the most. The two sixes he hit off the slower ones – one-off Karunaratne and later off Chameera. He answered the critics with his bat, you don’t need to answer with your tongue,” he said.
Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar, who was part of the same conversation, admitted that the team management is presently looking at Iyer as a back-up option for Kohli at No.3.
“The bench is getting strong. The position at which Shreyas is being sent to bat, he is being continuously sent at No. 3. So God forbid if Virat Kohli gets injured in some match, I feel he can become a very good option at No. 3, and that is probably where the team management’s sights are set on Shreyas Iyer,” he opined.
With Kohli being rested for the entire series, the newly-announced captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders will have two more chances to prove his worth as India continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
The second T20I will be played in Dharamsala on Saturday.