Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Mumbai teenager shines with bat for India U-19

If it was Sarfaraz Khan on Wednesday, it was the turn of another Mumbai teenager, Shreyas Iyer, to post a match-winning century in the ongoing U-19 quadrangular series in Visakhapatnam.

Eighteen-year-old Iyer scored a breezy 109 off just 67 deliveries with 10 fours and half-a-dozen sixes against Australia U-19 to set a strong foundation from where the hosts posted their third successive victory on Friday. Though the margin was only 18 runs in a rain-curtailed enoucnter, it was a match thoroughly dominated by India U-19.

India U-19 posted 321/5 in 50 overs at the ACA-VDCA Stadium. Australia U-19 were 156/3 in 30 overs when rain interrupted play. At that stage, Australia's score should have been 175 by D/L method.

The right-handed middle-order batsman Shreyas hogged the limelight with his first century for India U-19 since making it the squad on the tour of Australia in June-July this year.

"I am very happy with my century," Shreyas said after his chanceless knock. "The Australian trip was not good for me personally. I hardly got any chance and even when I did, I could not score big. I wanted to do something. To survive at this level, I only had to keep scoring runs."

Runs did flow from Shreyas's bat in the ensuing 'Test' series in Sri Lanka. He scored 65, 84 and 22* and with his confidence high, was automatically picked up for the quadrangulars.

A resident of Worli, the B. Com second year student of Podar College said he had to choose between football and cricket in school.

"My father told me to choose any one and it was cricket," Shreyas said.

Unlike youngsters who usually idolise someone, Shreyas doesn't have any. "I want to be myself, now that I have come to a certain level. But I admire AB de Villiers because he is suitable for all formats," he said.

Shreyas had a remarkable run in last season's Cooch Behar, scoring three tons and a half-century in seven matches.

"My start was not good. I fell for a duck against Himachal Pradesh in Dharamsala. But in the second innings, I scored 110 not out. That ton was the turning point of my career so far," Shreyas said.

India U-19 coach Bharat Arun is impressed with Shreyas' talent. "He is an intelligent cricketer who can adapt to any given situation. He is technically a good player and an outstanding fielder. He can rally the team around him. He is a selfless cricketer with the team's interest on top," he said.

Madhya Pradesh's Bhui and Shreyas shared 170 for the fourth wicket to frustrate the Australians.

The current India U-19 is on the right track in its preparation for the junior World Cup in Dubai early next year. And, Shreyas wants to be part of it. "Obviously, I want to play for the senior Indian team. But I should not think about it now and will take things as they come. My immediate goal is to play in the U-19 World Cup," he said.
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