Shreyas Iyer and Ricky Ponting during IPL
A ‘proud’ former Australia captain Ricky Ponting heaped praise on India batter Shreyas Iyer and congratulated him for making his Test debut against New Zealand at the Green Park in Kanpur on Thursday. Ponting has seen Iyer from close quarters while working as the head coach of Delhi Capitals in the IPL. It was the combination of Iyer and Ponting that took the Delhi Capitals to new heights and revived their campaign in the IPL. Under Ponting and Iyer – he was the captain of DC before being replaced by Rishabh Pant due to an injury ahead of the 14th season – DC emerged as one of the most consistent teams in the last few years of the IPL.
Ponting said Iyer’s Test debut was well-deserved as the right-hander has worked very hard in the last few years to fulfil his dreams.
“Having seen all the work you’ve put in over the last few years, very well deserved and only the beginning for you mate. Proud of you Shreyas Iyer,” tweeted Ponting quoting the BCCI video.
— Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) November 25, 2021
The 26-year-old Iyer was handed the Test cap by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar ahead of start play on Thursday.
It hasn’t been an easy year for Iyer, who missed a lot of cricket due to a shoulder injury sustained during the limited-overs series against England earlier this year. He had to undergo a surgery which also kept him away from India’s T20 World Cup side.
The Mumbai batter, however, made a strong comeback with a string of good scores in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and not only got his place back in India’s limited-overs set-up – he featured in all the three T20Is against New Zealand – but also forced his way into the Test side.
With Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma resting, Iyer has an ideal opportunity to leave a mark in red-ball cricket.
India lost opener Mayank Agarwal early after stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and opted to bat first. Agarwal was out for 13 off Kyle Jamieson. But since then Shubman Gill and veteran Cheteshwar Pujara have steadied the Indian innings by taking them past the fifty-run mark without further damage.
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