Dravid says Iyer’s debut heroics reflect India’s player riches

KANPUR: India coach Rahul Dravid (pix) lauded debutant Shreyas Iyer on Monday for his prolific scoring in the drawn opening Test against New Zealand, and said his performance reflects an abundance of up-and-coming talent.

Iyer, a limited-overs regular for India, stood out for India with his 105 and 65 in India’s 345 and 237-4 declared in Kanpur.

India were denied victory after the Kiwis hung on for a draw in a tense final session on day five when they finished on 165-9 in pursuit of 284 for victory.

But Iyer was named man of the match for his batting heroics.

“Always nice to see a young kid come and do well for India in his first Test match,” Dravid said of the 26-year-old Iyer.

“It’s also a really good reflection of the Indian system and the fact that we have been able to develop (players).”

Dravid, the team’s new head coach, has been instrumental in getting youngsters prepared for the big stage after his stints with India A and the Under-19 teams.

Iyer made his white-ball debut in 2017 and took a Test spot in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who will join the team for the second match in Mumbai starting Friday.

“He (Iyer) had to earn it,” said Dravid.

“It wasn’t easy for him considering he hadn’t played first class cricket for the last three years,” he added.

“Probably wouldn’t have made the 11 if it hadn’t been for injuries and people had been resting. But he got his opportunity and took it with both hands.”

Dravid steered clear of outlining a possible team for the next game when Kohli returns.

Ajinkya Rahane’s lack of form has been a topic of recent discussion, but Dravid said the senior batsman, who led the team in Kanpur, will come good.

“You don’t get worried,” he said of Rahane, who has averaged under 20 in 12 matches this year.

“Of course you like more runs from Ajinkya. He would like a few more runs, but he is a quality player who has done well for India in the past,” he added.

“He has got experience, so hopefully it is a matter of an innings or a match that he can turn that around.” – AFP