Why Shreyas Iyer is living on borrowed time in the England series.

As the 'other guys' return, the pressure intensifies on Iyer to secure his spot in the playing XI

In the high-stakes drama of India’s Test series against England, the spotlight is firmly on Shreyas Iyer, who finds himself at a crossroads in his cricketing journey. Despite being considered a proficient player of spin, Iyer’s performance in this series has left much to be desired, raising questions about his place in the team.

Former England batsman and television pundit Kevin Pietersen didn’t mince his words after the first innings in the second Test at Vizag, expressing his frustration with Iyer’s lackluster showing. Now, with the return of key players like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Ravindra Jadeja, the competition for spots in the playing XI has intensified.

Iyer’s rival, Rajat Patidar, failed to capitalize on the opportunity, setting the stage for an intriguing showdown between the two for a spot in the team in the upcoming third Test in Rajkot on February 15. While India might lean towards the aggressive Iyer with Rahul’s return, the uncertainty surrounding Iyer’s form has added an extra layer of suspense.

From his brief Test career, one thing is evident – Shreyas Iyer is not one to conform to traditional expectations of composure and hunger. His unorthodox approach at the crease has bewildered not only fans but also former cricketers.

During the series, Pietersen highlighted Iyer’s peculiar shuffling outside leg before the delivery, a move that seemed to unsettle the former England batsman. Despite being recognized as a skilled and daring player against spin, Iyer’s trademark aggressive style has yet to pay dividends in this series.

Iyer’s unconventional methods, such as the shuffle, draw parallels to past cricketing greats like Pakistan’s Salim Malik and even Don Bradman during the Bodyline series. However, Iyer’s execution has fallen short, leading to raised eyebrows and concerns about his approach, particularly against pacers.

On a placid track in Visakhapatnam, Iyer’s struggle against James Anderson’s short-pitched deliveries stood out. The refusal to sway or duck and the reluctance to keep the ball down on the leg side raised questions about Iyer’s adaptability.

Despite having worked on his technique, making adjustments to his bat-lift as noted by Mohammad Kaif, Iyer seems determined to stick to his unorthodox methods. Whether it’s a fear of inviting more bouncers, a desire for an aggressive batting style, or a matter of personal preference, Iyer’s choices will be put to the ultimate test in Rajkot.

As the opposition bowlers continue to exploit his vulnerabilities, Shreyas Iyer faces a make-or-break moment in the upcoming Test. His ability to deliver under pressure will not only determine his fate but also shape the course of the series for Team India.

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