‘Likes to Play Against Spinners but…’: Irfan Pathan Picks India Batter Struggling Against Fast Bowlers

Shreyas Iyer’s struggle against pace bowling is becoming evident with every single game he is playing in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa. He has been smashing the likes of Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj with utmost ease but trouble begins when he faces the fast bowlers in Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje.

Iyer had a great series against Sri Lanka in February earlier this year. He scored three half-centuries in as many games and bagged the Player of the Series. But ever since he made his debut with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL 2022, his discomfort against pacers hit back.

Batting great Sunil Gavaskar had already pointed out the problem in Iyer’s batting and now former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has said that the 27-year-old need to fine-tune his skills against fast bowling.

Speaking on the Star Sports Network, Pathan said, “Yes obviously, he has struggled against pace, not only in this series but in quite a few matches (before that). Even in the IPL, we have seen that when it comes to fast bowlers who are bowling 140-plus, he has struggled a little. His strike rate has also gone down.”

“He likes to play against spinners and if you are bowling less than 140 kph, he is very much comfortable. But the one area of his game he needs to improve is facing the fast bowlers, especially when the ball comes close to his shoulders,” he added.

However, Pathan backed Iyer and called him a brilliant batter who has grabbed his opportunities very well in recent times.

“As far as his first-class cricket is concerned, he averages over 50. He is a brilliant batter and he has performed really well. As much as he has got a chance of batting at No. 3, he has played his part. His numbers are really good, especially in the last few months, for India as well,” Pathan concluded.

Iyer featured in all four games against South Africa in the ongoing series. He has scored 94 runs at a dismal average of 23.50, striking at 125.33. Team India return to action on Sunday in Bengaluru in the series decider.

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