In Friday's ODI series opener against New Zealand, Shreyas Iyer got to bat at number three, a spot where he's batted often this year when the main stars of the Indian team were rested from playing 50-over matches.
There was a scare of Iyer falling for a low total when he was beaten in defence off Adam Milne in the 27th over and was saved by the umpire's call. Milne had another chance of sending Iyer back to the pavilion for 11 when he failed to get any elevation on an attempted ramp shot on a short ball and was dropped by Tom Latham in the 31st over.
As the innings grew, Iyer was able to shake off a scratchy start, pressed the accelerator with his trademark slash, loft and pull off the front foot, to get his fifty and top-score in India's total of 306/7 with 80 off 76 balls, hitting four boundaries and as many sixes at a strike-rate of 105.26.
But there is very little possibility that Iyer could continue batting at three when Virat Kohli returns for the upcoming ODI series against Bangladesh in December. As of now, Iyer isn't perturbed about what will happen in the future if he doesn't get to be at number three or even in the playing eleven.
"Approach is always to be optimistic and I don't like thinking too much about what will happen in the future. Whatever is there in my hands -- be it training, seeing that my fitness levels are great in these back-to-back games, perform consistently and be in the present.
This is my mindset right now.""As players will come and go, consistency is what matters. Good or bad, ups and downs do happen in everyone's career, no one has a stable graph. I am looking to motivate myself in every situation possible and turn a deaf ear to what people are talking on the outside.
I just try to be in my zone and that helps me with my batting," said the right-handed batter in the post-match press conference.In the past, Iyer had been in and out of the side due to many experimentations and him not getting a settled position in the playing eleven when the main guys come.
In between, his short-ball troubles have come to the fore and despite that, he has managed to tick along nicely in ODIs since July.With a lot of talk about how T20s are dictating the way ODIs are played, Iyer feels a batter cannot carry the mode of batting in the shortest format to 50 overs game due to the scope of scenarios changing after every ten overs.
"When you go in, you can't straightaway play in a T20 mode in 50 overs as there is a lot of time for a player. If you know the wicket and par score at it, then you can plan your batting according to it and have to adapt at the wicket as every wicket won't play in the same way."
"50-overs is such a huge game that it can change from time to time like anything can happen after every ten overs apart from dew and sunset coming in. Then you don't know how the wicket would play.""As per that, the mindset should always be to make runs.
Bowlers also come with strategies and don't come in with can play in one flow mindset, which is there in T20s."Iyer concluded by saying the challenge to adapt to New Zealand wickets after playing for Mumbai in their Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy-winning campaign hasn't been easy.
"I had played the two T20Is here and had acclimatized in the two practice sessions here.""But it's not easy as I directly came from India to play here and wickets are changing here from place to place as you can't get the same wickets everywhere.
I feel that it is a challenge here for me and in situations like this, you have to be mentally strong and just have to adapt to it."