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Shreyas Iyer: Our plan is to attack 'even if we keep losing wickets'

"Even if we fail, we will learn from that and grow as a player and grow as a team"

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
India are prioritising firming up their plans for the 2022 T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia in October-November, over the results of bilateral T20Is. That's what Shreyas Iyer said after India lost the second T20I against South Africa in Cuttack to fall 2-0 behind in the five-match series.
"Our main aim is obviously the World Cup, so we have to see to it that we plan towards it," Iyer said. "So we have that sort of mindset where we are completely free and not thinking about anything else. These are the actual games where we can practise what we were lacking in the past. That's what we keep discussing in the team meeting as well. No matter what happens, whatever plans we discuss in the team meeting, we have to execute those. Even if we fail, we will learn from that and grow as a player and grow as a team. So that's more important till we reach Australia."
One of those plans is for batters to keep attacking even if wickets are falling at the other end. That strategy was on display in the first T20I, where almost every Indian batter threw his bat around to take India to 211 for 4.
"We have made this plan that we will keep going no matter what happens," Iyer said. "Even if we keep losing wickets, it's our gameplan and in the future too, we will go in with the same mindset. We will back ourselves and back our instincts."
However, on a difficult Cuttack pitch on Sunday, the Indian batters failed to score freely despite trying hard. Eventually, they could post only 148 for 6, which didn't prove to be enough.
"I feel if something we could have done on this wicket is playing until 11 to 15 overs," Iyer said. "But at the same time you need to keep the scoreboard ticking also. If I look back, I think 160 could have been a really good score on the board to put them under a little bit of pressure but we were around 12 runs short."
Iyer also said that India want to use Dinesh Karthik mainly in the last five overs. They lost their fourth wicket in the 13th over and Axar Patel walked in ahead of Karthik. Axar managed only 10 off 11 balls. Karthik came out with 37 balls left in the innings but he too struggled to score quickly. He was on 9 off 16 balls at one point before finishing on 30 not out off 21.
"It's definitely something we have strategised earlier as well. We had seven overs left and Axar Patel is someone who can take singles, who can keep rotating the strike. And we didn't require someone to come in and start hitting from ball one at that point of time. Even DK [Karthik] can do that obviously but DK has been a really good asset for us after 15 overs where he can come and straightaway slog the ball. Even he found it difficult to start well today. Obviously, the wicket played a huge role in today's game, but we will be using this strategy in the next games as well."

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo