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Shreyas Iyer: Story of Redemption and Resilience in IPL 2024

Shreyas Iyer has a remarkable captaincy record, leading his teams to the playoffs three times in four seasons, reaching two finals, and securing one title. Shreyas Iyer lead KKR to their third IPL title. The story of rise of Shreyas Iyer.

IPL 2024: Shreyas Iyer led KKR to third IPL title | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Shreyas Iyer led KKR to third IPL title (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)

In the high-stakes world of cricket, few stories are as compelling as that of Shreyas Iyer. The 29-year-old cricketer’s journey over the past few months has been marked by a series of trials and triumphs that have culminated in leading the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to their third IPL title. This victory, achieved by defeating the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) by eight wickets at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, not only underscores Iyer’s cricketing prowess but also his remarkable resilience and leadership skills.

Fall and Rise of Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer’s recent journey began under a cloud of doubt and controversy. Once groomed as a potential captain for India’s national team, Iyer faced a severe setback due to injuries and inconsistent form. His omission from BCCI’s list of centrally-contracted players in February 2024 was a significant blow. This decision was influenced by his choice to sit out the Ranji Trophy citing back issues, despite being declared fit by the National Cricket Academy. This episode painted Iyer as a player who prioritised personal discomfort over domestic commitments, drawing criticism from various quarters.

IPL 2024 was his platform for redemption

The 2024 IPL season provided Shreyas Iyer with an opportunity to redeem himself; and he embraced it wholeheartedly. Despite missing the previous IPL edition due to a back injury requiring surgery, Iyer returned as the captain of KKR with a determined mindset of proving his worth. His leadership and performances with the bat were crucial in KKR's campaign, ultimately leading them to their third IPL title. This victory was particularly significant as it came under the mentorship of Gautam Gambhir, who had previously captained KKR to two titles in 2012 and 2014.

Throughout the tournament, Iyer scored 351 runs from 239 deliveries, maintaining an impressive strike rate of 146.86. While his performance might not have been extraordinary, it was vital in maintaining the team’s momentum. His batting efforts were complemented by explosive performances from Phil Salt (435 runs), Sunil Narine (488 runs) and Venkatesh Iyer (370 runs).

Shreyas Iyer demonstrated his strategic acumen as a captain, especially in managing a formidable bowling attack that included Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell, and Varun Chakravarthy. There were initial concerns about KKR's fast-bowling lineup, particularly due to the lack of an experienced bowler to partner Starc, who had a rocky start to the season. 

Iyer's leadership skills were prominently displayed when KKR faced pressure in their first game, with Heinrich Klassen batting aggressively. Iyer instilled confidence in young Harshit Rana, assuring him that he would take full responsibility if things didn't go their way. Needing 60 off the final three overs, SRH got the equation down to 13 off the last one, but Rana held his nerves to give KKR two points in this thriller. This move exemplified leading from the front.

Iyer’s adept management of his bowling resources was evident, especially in the final where KKR bowled out Hyderabad for just 113 runs, the lowest total in an IPL final. This impressive performance highlighted Iyer’s ability to make decisive and strategic decisions under pressure, showcasing his growth as a leader.

IPL 2024_ Shreyas Iyer led KKR to third IPL title _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Shreyas receiving the IPL 2024 trophy (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)
IPL Captaincy Record of Shreyas Iyer

Iyer’s captaincy record in the IPL is notable. Before leading KKR to victory in 2024, he was the captain of Delhi Capitals (DC). Under his leadership, the Capitals reached the playoffs in 2019 and the final in 2020, but fell short of winning the title. His overall IPL captaincy record, spanning both DC and KKR, includes 45 wins from 83 matches, reflecting his ability to inspire and lead teams effectively.

Chandrakant Pandit, KKR’s coach, lauded Iyer’s captaincy and maturity. He described Iyer as a cool, calm and fantastic leader who was receptive to suggestions. He added about Iyer’s handling of the team, both on and off the field. Pandit’s praise underscores Iyer’s potential for future leadership roles, possibly even as the captain of India’s national team.

The Road Ahead

For Shreyas Iyer, the immediate goal is to reclaim his spot in India’s Test team. His recent IPL success has revived his reputation and demonstrated his leadership qualities. The broader cricketing world will be watching closely to see if this IPL triumph marks the beginning of a new chapter in his career. He would be looking to fulfil his potential and perhaps lead India on the international stage.

In conclusion, Shreyas Iyer’s journey over the past few months has been a testament to his resilience and determination. His performance and leadership in IPL 2024 have not only brought glory to KKR but have also reignited his career, setting the foundation for future successes.

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