Nayar, who has been with the KKR franchise for a while, heaped praise on the 27-year-old Shreyas and compared his captaincy style to that of India and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma.
The Shreyas Iyer-led KKR team began their IPL 2022 campaign on a high, with a big win vs defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the tournament opener on March 26.
“In terms of personality traits, Shreyas is very much similar to Rohit Sharma. He is just like Rohit in terms of his personality, in terms of being easy-going, in terms of empowering the cricketers. He empowers the players to play the style of game they want to play,” Nayar said in response to a question by TimesofIndia.com in a media interaction.
Image credit: PTI
Shreyas, who had captained Delhi Capitals in 2020 and took them to their maiden final, was released after the 2021 season and KKR splurged a whopping Rs. 12.25 crore to acquire the services of the prolific Mumbaikar.
KKR were hunting for a new captain after they released Eoin Morgan ahead of the players’ auction and they looked to Shreyas to fulfill that role.
Despite buying back Australia Test captain Pat Cummins in the players’ auction, KKR preferred Shreyas ahead of Cummins to lead the team. Most IPL teams anyway prefer Indian captains. Also, most of the big name Aussie players are yet to join their IPL squads, because of international and personal commitments etc. Cricket Australia had earlier said that the Aussies would be joining the IPL only after the completion of their ongoing tour of Pakistan.
Shreyas, who captained Delhi Capitals to their only IPL final so far (2020), has played 88 IPL games in his career so far and scored 2395 runs at an average of 31.93. He has 16 half-centuries under his belt.
Shreyas Iyer and Rohit Sharma
“The confidence and personality that Shreyas carries on the field, there are a lot of similarities with Rohit (Sharma). He is a player who goes from strength to strength. He is a young captain. I think, in the future he is definitely someone who is going to don the Indian colours as a captain as well,” Nayar further said.
AJINKYA RAHANE THE QUINTESSENTIAL TEAM MAN
In the last IPL player auction, KKR also roped in veteran Ajinkya Rahane at his base price of Rs 1 crore.
KKR’s move to buy the out-of-form batsman, who also lost his place in the Indian Test team, raised quite a few eyebrows.
Rahane though began his IPL 2022 campaign with a bang. The right-hander, in his new role as KKR opener blasted 44 runs off 34 balls vs CSK. His knock was studded with 6 fours and one maximum. Most saw that as a reply to the critics.
Ajinkya Rahane (PTI Photo)
Nayar, however, feels that Rahane is not the kind of cricketer who would want to prove anything to anyone.
“Knowing Ajinkya, he has been someone who has never played to prove anything to anyone. He is someone who has played for the fact that he enjoys playing his game and with utmost desire to do well for his team. He is an absolute team man. If there was one player who would stand out and you can consider a proper team man it is Ajinkya.” Nayar further said in response to a question by TimesofIndia.com in a media interaction.
Rahane was part of the Delhi Capitals team last season, but featured in just 2 matches. The man with 150 matches plus experience in the IPL was seen warming the benches last season.
The 33-year-old incidentally was the top scorer for Rajasthan Royals in 2019 with 393 runs in 14 matches at an average of 32.75. He was also the third-highest run-getter for his team (RR) in the 2018 season, scoring 370 runs in 15 matches at an average of 28.46. In the two seasons he played for Rising Pune Supergiants (in 2016 and 2017), Rahane scored 480 runs in 14 matches and 370 runs in 15 matches, respectively.
Nayar backed Rahane and said the experienced batsman has the potential to make a comeback to the Indian limited-overs sides. Rahane, who captained India to a Test series win in Australia in January last year, last played an ODI match in 2018 (34 not out vs South Africa in Centurion) and a T20I match in 2016 (4 not out vs West Indies in Lauderhill).
“In terms of making a comeback, he (Rahane) always has the calibre. When he came back to the domestic side after playing Test cricket, he got a first-class hundred. He is someone who has always got runs. In the IPL, he is someone who has always been successful. I don’t think he is approaching the IPL to make a comeback; I think he is approaching the IPL to help KKR win the title,” Nayar further said.