From setbacks to success: Shreyas Iyer's journey to IPL victory | Crickit
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From setbacks to success: Shreyas Iyer's journey to IPL victory

PTI |
May 27, 2024 04:02 PM IST

From setbacks to success: Shreyas Iyer's journey to IPL victory

Kolkata, When Shreyas Iyer recreated Lionel Messi's famous World Cup celebration after lifting the IPL Trophy as Kolkata Knight Riders captain in Chennai, it was nothing short of an Argentina moment for the embattled Indian cricketer at an individual level.

From setbacks to success: Shreyas Iyer's journey to IPL victory
From setbacks to success: Shreyas Iyer's journey to IPL victory

His central contract torn up a few weeks before the IPL besides a recurring back injury threatening to derail him, Iyer faced numerous challenges at the start of the year.

He finally found a deep sense of triumph and vindication in this victory, much like Messi did after exorcising the ghosts of losing the 2014 final and winning the trophy for his country after a 36-year-wait.

For the two-time IPL champions, the wait lasted 10 years as Iyer sang a redemption song following a topsy-turvy start to the year. Little wonder then that he chose to imitate the man who knows all about rising from setbacks.

So, Iyer, with the trophy in his hands, took a playful walk towards his teammates, quite similar to what Messi did after the final against France in Doha, and handed the big prize to them.

"I am hearing a lot about Gautam Gambhir, who has created a magnificent culture in the KKR team. But this guy , I don't think he is getting enough credit. Shreyas Iyer needs some credit," said the legendary Ian Bishop on Sunday as KKR defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in a completely one-sided final to win their third IPL title.

KKR may have got most of their runs from openers Sunil Narine and Phil Salt, but they played as a team and managed to come out winners in a dominant season, topping the table with two rounds to spare, and enduring just three losses in between.

"It is hard to express how we are feeling right now. The wait was so long. We played like invincibles throughout the season. There is so much to cherish right now," said Iyer.

It was a special feeling for his childhood and Mumbai coach Pravin Amre, who first tested his character by promoting Iyer to No.3 from No.7 in his maiden Ranji season in 2014-15.

Iyer returned with 153, his maiden first-class hundred in their match against Bengal at Eden Gardens in December 2014.

"I challenged him in his entire career ...I knew how strong-willed he's and it was my job as a coach to challenge him. He always liked to take the challenge in a good stride. he is a good team man. In the last world cup, he scored 530 runs," Amre said.

"I always told him you just do whatever is in your hands, let the other people do their job, you just remain focus on what's in your hands," added Amre who first took him under his wings at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana.

By leading KKR into final, Iyer achieved the rare of feat of playing the summit clash as captain of two different franchises in the IPL. The KKR skipper missed the last season because of a back injury that required a surgery in London last year.

He made a comeback in the Asia Cup and went on to become India's third leading run-getter after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the last year's ODI World Cup.

The year didn't start well for him though as he had a difficult outing in the home Test series against England and looked patchy scoring 140 runs in the first two matches before being left out for the final three Tests.

It was learnt that he developed the recurring back problem, even though he was cleared by the Board medical staff. Iyer then became the centre of a controversy when he missed the Ranji Trophy for his home state Mumbai and went on to attend KKR's pre-season camp.

Iyer, however, returned to play for Mumbai in the semifinal and final against Vidarbha where he scored a resolute 95 in the second innings of their 42nd Ranji triumph.

The Board omitted him from the Grade B contract and BCCI secretary Jay Shah issued a stern warning asking players not to prioritise IPL over domestic cricket.

Under intense scrutiny, Iyer looked rusty at the start of the IPL and got out for a two-ball duck in their opener against SRH.

He had some significant contributions later on but his efforts were all overshadowed by Narine and Salt's explosive batting.

Captain Cool

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However, Iyer personified "Captain Cool" and held the team's cause ahead of his individual milestones. He went on to become the fourth leading run-getter for KKR this season with 351 runs and two fifties.

His best came against the crucial first qualifier against SRH when he anchored their tricky chase of 160 with an unbeaten 58.

"The way he handled the team as a player is commendable. More than that, he is improving as a leader and the experts in the game are also appreciating his leadership qualities," Amre said.

"I personally believe success is not an accident he has worked hard for this, handling the team. Yes, he had a good team under him but bringing the best out of everyone is important," he added.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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