It was this question which blew the Mumbaikar’s fuse. “I wanted to ask, short ball has been a problem for you since the beginning of this World Cup and today we saw some great pull shots.How much are you prepared for the next match against South Africa because we know how good they are with the short balls?Firing back at the reporter, Iyer thundered: “When you say, it is a problem for me, what do you mean?” “Not a problem, problem exactly, but it has troubled you,” the reporter stuck to his line of questioning. “Troubled me? Have you seen how many pull shots I’ve scored? Especially those which have gone for a four. If you’re trying to hit a ball, you’re bound to get out anyway. Irrespective of it’s a short ball or it’s an over-pitched delivery. If I get bowled two or three times, you all would say that, ‘Ok, he can’t play an in-swinging ball. He can’t play a cut if a ball is seaming.’” Iyer retorted, before continuing.
“Have you seen how many pull shots I have played which have actually gone for fours? If you are trying to hit a ball, you are going to get out anyway, irrespective of whether it is a short ball, overpitched. If I get bowled two or three times, you will say ‘oh he can’t play the inswinging ball or the seaming ball.”
Iyer blamed the media for creating the perception that he has issues against the rising delivery. “We are bound to get out on any sort of deliveries, you guys have created that atmosphere outside that he can’t play the short ball, I feel that people are picking that up every now and then . Coming from Mumbai, especially the Wankhede, where the bounce is pretty much even and it bounces more than anywhere else (in India). I have played majority of my games here so I know how to tackle it, it is just that when I go to hit some shots, you are bound to get out and sometimes it may work sometimes it may not, You may think I have a problem but in my mind, I know there’s no problem,” he asserted.
Iyer stressed that he and his teammates had faith in his abilities, and that’s what mattered to him. “I have confidence in my ability, in my skills and in how much I have played. I may get out again and again but I don’t mind as long as I have the confidence in myself, and my teammates support is a motivating factor, I don’t bother about anything else,” Iyer said.
World Cup 2023: India crush Sri Lanka, become first team to qualify for semifinals
So, did this talk around his short ball weakness provide him with extra determination to make a big contribution in India’s win in a World Cup game on his home ground?
Iyer chose to term all such discussion around his technical issues with the short ball as “rumours.” “I mean, rumours are spread everywhere and you’ll pick on those rumours. I have faith in myself, in my skills, and how much I’ve played. I’m experienced enough to play certain deliveries. And I may get out again and again, but I don’t mind, to be honest, as long as I have faith in myself and my teammates believe in me and support me. So that is a motivating factor for me. I don’t pay attention to anything else,” he said.
He confessed that considering the flat track, India were lucky on the day that Sri Lanka asked them to take first strike. “I think we got lucky, especially when they won the toss and we were thinking that they would be batting first, especially when you come to Wankhede and play on such a brilliant track. And even in the huddle, when we decided that if we wIn the toss, we would be choosing to bat,” the Mumbaikar said.