Shreyas Iyer during a practice session. (AFP)
Shreyas Iyer has been a crucial part of India’s ODI set-up in the recent times and has scored 1,631 runs at an average of about 47 and a strike rate of nearly 97 in 42 matches
Key batsman Shreyas Iyer’s recurring back problems that threaten to keep him out of action for an indefinite period is a big blow in an ICC World Cup year, feels the team’s stand-in ODI skipper Hardik Pandya.
“Obviously there is no timeline but we have to hope for the best,” Pandya said at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday before the first ODI of the series between India and Australia. “It is going to impact. Obviously, we are going to miss him but we will have to slowly start finding solutions if he is not around (for a long time),” Pandya added.
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The stand-in India skipper said that Iyer will be “more than welcome” if he is available. “But if he is not then there is a lot of time to think about it and see how we can go forward,” he added.
Iyer has been a crucial part of India’s ODI set-up in recent times and has scored 1,631 runs at an average of about 47 and a strike rate of nearly 97 in 42 matches.
Iyer’s last involvement in an ODI was back in January against Sri Lanka. His back issues kept him out of the three ODIs against New Zealand and also the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. He returned for the second and third Tests against the visiting Australians but did not trouble the scorers much. His lower back pain resurfaced in the fourth and final Test of the series after the third day’s play and he could not come out to bat in India’s innings on the fourth day.
India’s fielding coach T Dilip confirmed on Wednesday that Iyer had been ruled out of the ODI series against Australia. Iyer is currently undergoing rehabilitation that the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, but it could not be confirmed if he would require surgery like Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna.
“Injuries are a part and parcel of the game. We have the best medical facilities and they are well-equipped,” Dilip said. “We are in coordination with NCA. Shreyas is ruled out of this series.”
Iyer’s injury also effectively rules him out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is slated to start on March 31 and also the ICC World Test Championship final in June.
The stand-in Indian captain Pandya is no stranger to long injury-induced lay-offs, having been away from the action between 2019 and 2020 owing to back troubles.
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“I have been in that situation where the back could be a problem,” Pandya said on Thursday.
India, who have won all their six matches this year, against Sri Lanka and New Zealand over two separate series, will look to continue their good form against Australia too and prepare in earnest for the all-important ICC World Cup at home in October-November later in the year.
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