IPL 2022 – KKR’s Shreyas Iyer embraces Kolkata Knight Riders spirit and intensity as new captain
Franchise CEO Venky Mysore says they appreciate Ajinkya Rahane’s experience and class
“They [KKR] have always been aggressive and they have been fearless as a team,” Shreyas told KKR.in. “From the first ball, they like to throw the punch and put you on the back foot. And obviously, you have to have that kind of mindset. I go through the same mindset every time I go out to bat, and when I want to lead as captain, I also want that kind of intensity from my players. If it comes from the coach, it is more important because the energy is mainly provided by the coach and the captain.
“I’m really happy with the mindset and planning that KKR has nurtured over the years. Basically, I have a similar mindset too – go out there and express yourself as much as possible and don’t have no regrets when we step onto the pitch Whatever you do, you do it for the team and you put yourself second – I think that’s the mindset I like to focus on in as captain.”
He ranked No. 3 in all three T20Is in Virat Kohli’s absence, putting in a series-winning player performance. In the IPL, 41 of his 87 innings have been at No. 3, from where he has 1,134 runs at an average of 30.64 and a strike rate of 125.44.
Shreyas said he also preferred to play at No. 3 for Knight Riders, although he was willing to be flexible with his batting position and play multiple roles for the team.
“You can’t present yourself as an anchor. It can also differ,” he said. “On any given day, I can be a power hitter and there can be another player who can play an anchor role. Situations and roles can change depending on conditions, and you can’t rely on a certain player to anchor If it’s your day, you have to go all out and make sure you win the game for the team.
“Basically the responsibility has to be taken by all the players on the team – going out there and winning the game and not relying on the other players. For me personally I think No. 3 is my position because that i like to hit there. and i have been hitting at this position for a very long time. i have been very flexible, wherever the team wants me to hit, i am very comfortable and ready to explore.
He was particularly impressive as a finisher with the bat in the T20I at home against the West Indies, hitting 92 runs over three innings at an outstanding 184 strike rate.
“They’ve done wonders for themselves, and it’s an honor to play alongside them.”
Shreyas on having seniors like Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch and Ajinkya Rahane on the side
“The batting position he [Venkatesh] will be at bat – we haven’t definitely decided on that,” Shreyas said. “Because we have to come out of quarantine and talk to coaches and management about it. I had a quick chat with Venky when we were putting on the India shirt – he’s very flexible in terms of what position we put him in. Obviously, he did well in KKR’s opening slot last year, so that will be on your mind.
“He’s a team man and I’ve seen him on the pitch before – every time I asked him questions, [like] “What do you think of the team and what do you think the journey is going to be for us this season?” He is always positive and always talks about winning. He’s the kind of character we need on our team who’s willing to go out there and show that relentlessness all the way.”
Shreyas also hopes to tap into the brains of senior players and draw on their experience whenever he needs to. Pat Cummins, Australia’s Tests captain, Aaron Finch, Australia’s white ball captain who also served as captain and senior mentor at Melbourne Renegades, and Ajinkya Rahane, India’s former vice-captain, are among Knight’s experienced players. Riders.
“It’s a great honor to have them by my side as they have achieved so much playing for their own country and they have also played in all three formats for the past few years,” Shreyas said. “So yeah, they’ve done wonders for themselves, and it’s an honor to play alongside [them].
“Certainly, if I get to a point where I think it’s a good time to take advice from the oldest player in the team…it’s not just on the pitch, but also off the pitch. in terms of gelling and trying to get some small tips on how to run the team, how to talk to the youngsters, how to connect and bond well with the seniors, all of those aspects play a vital role and can play a role huge.”
Venky Mysore, CEO of Knight Riders, welcomed Rahane to their side and acknowledged that he would be among the group’s personalities.
“Ajinkya is another who represents change and a very positive change for KKR,” Mysore said. “Having someone of his experience and class in the setup itself is a huge plus for us. Shreyas talked about potentially leaning on some of the experienced players who are there when he needs them, and Ajinkya in is a part.”
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo