Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomesportIndia coach Dravid hails Iyer as backbone of middle-order

India coach Dravid hails Iyer as backbone of middle-order

BENGALURU : India coach Rahul Dravid described Shreyas Iyer as the backbone of their middle order after the batsman made an unbeaten 128 in Sunday’s World Cup victory over the Netherlands to ensure the hosts won all nine of their group stage games.

Iyer followed up his scores of 82 against Sri Lanka and 77 against fellow semi-finalists South Africa with his maiden World Cup hundred in the company of fellow centurion KL Rahul as India scored 410-4 before bowling out the Dutch for 250.

The right-hander’s back injury earlier this year had briefly left India without a settled batsman at number four ahead of the World Cup, with the team having already tried a dozen players since Yuvraj Singh’s retirement in 2017.

“Shreyas is the backbone of our middle order and we all know how tough it’s been for us to find a good number four batter for the last 10 years,” Dravid said on Star Sports.

Speaking on Saturday, Dravid told reporters Iyer brought a calm temperament to the table in the high-pressure role.

“You just look at even some of his knocks under pressure, how he’s able to actually bring the best out of himself under those pressure situations,” Dravid said.

“Everyone will have areas they need to work on and improve. There’s no complete batsman who can say ‘I know everything’. At the end of the day, you have to be judged by the results you produce, the runs you score and when you score them.”

Netherlands all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe said India’s domination in the group stage put them in a strong position for Wednesday’s semi-final against New Zealand in Mumbai.

“India are a well-balanced side. They have match-winners all the way through. They’ve shown it in this World Cup,” said Van der Merwe.

“They’re going to be a tough team to beat. The other teams also, South Africa have got match-winners and the consistency of New Zealand and Australia … It’s going to be interesting, but I think India do shape up well.”

The Netherlands finished bottom of the table to miss out on qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan, but Van der Merwe took heart from their World Cup journey.

“Obviously, there’s so much improvement that still needs to happen,” he added. “But the boys stuck to it and we’ve got to look to the next tournament, whenever that is, and improve.”

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