He needs to work on his defence: Manjrekar's words of wisdom to Iyer for survival in Test

by IANS |

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has offered valuable advice to Shreyas Iyer, urging the under-fire middle-order batsman to focus on honing his defensive skills to excel in Test cricket. Iyer has recently faced criticism for his struggles in the longest format of the game. In his last seven Tests, Iyer has managed just 187 runs in 12 innings at an average of 17.00, with the best score of just 35.

With Iyer facing criticism for his recent struggles in the longest format of the game, Manjrekar emphasised the importance of Iyer defining his priorities across different formats.

If Test cricket remains Iyer's priority, he must dedicate himself to improving his defensive game against both pace and spin, Manjrekar emphasised. He stressed the need for Iyer to develop his confidence in defence, allowing his aggressive strokes to be an extension of his solid defensive play, rather than merely a response to pressure.

"Iyer has to decide which are the formats he is going to try and excel in. If Tests continue to be his priority, then he has got to work on his defensive game whether it's pace and bounce or spin. Develop a game where he is confident in defence and then when he takes the aggressive route it is an extension of the defensive play where he is trying to dominate and not escape pressure by playing a counter-attacking game," said Manjrekar to ESPNcricinfo.

Manjrekar also shared his insights on the potential lineup for the upcoming third Test against England, predicting a comeback for KL Rahul as a specialist batsman. Earlier, Manjrekar expressed uncertainty regarding the wicketkeeper position, suggesting a need for India to explore other options due to K.S Bharat's recent struggles with the bat who has 221 runs in seven games at an average of 20.09, in 12 innings with the best score of 44.

"Rahul definitely comes in for a batter. Have no idea what the team management and the selectors are thinking about the keeper. Before Rishabh Pant comes and takes his rightful place in the Test squad, would like to have a look at some of the other options India have," added Manjrekar.

Regarding the bowling lineup, Manjrekar highlighted the presence of pacer Mohammed Siraj and the potential assistance offered by reverse swing, indicating that India might opt for two seamers and a finger spinner in the third Test.

"If Mohammed Siraj was not available as a second seamer, then it would have been easier for India to play four spinners and go the English way. But with Siraj available, and with the reverse swinging creating opportunities for wickets for the seamers, and with the way England have played the finger spinners, India might stick to two seam bowlers and a finger spinner making way," said Manjrekar.

As the series stands level at 1-1, with India securing victory in the second Test after a narrow loss in the first, the upcoming matches in Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamsala hold significant importance for both teams. However, India will continue to be without the services of star batsman Virat Kohli, who remains unavailable for selection due to personal reasons.

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