Former Australian captain and Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting took to Twitter on Thursday morning to congratulate Shreyas Iyer on earning his maiden Test cap ahead of the Kanpur Test against New Zealand.
Iyer became the 303rd Indian men’s cricketer to make his debut in the longest format of the sport.
The former Delhi Capitals skipper was handed his maiden baggy blue by legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar during a special ceremony before the start of the Test.
Ponting, who has worked closely over the past four years with Shreyas in the IPL, lauded the 26-year-old for his hard work which has now materialized into a Test debut.
“Having seen all the work you’ve put in over the last few years, very well deserved and only the beginning for you mate. Proud of you @ShreyasIyer15.”
Check out Ponting’s tweet here:
Iyer was initially picked in the Test squad in place of Hanuma Vihari, who was later added to the India A squad for the South Africa tour.
However, with Rahul and Mayank earmarked as openers and Shubman Gill high in the pegging order, it seemed unlikely that Shreyas would get an opportunity in either Test.
But Gill’s accession to the opening position due to Rahul’s injury and the absence of Virat and Vihari in the middle-order eventually paved the way for the Mumbai lad’s debut.
Will Shreyas Iyer leave a mark on his Test debut?
Iyer’s call-up to the Test side may have come at the expense of incumbent Vihari but the DC man has earned his Test cap given the manner in which he’s performed in domestic cricket over the years.
Iyer has an average of 52.18 in First-Class cricket, having scored 4592 runs in 54 games which includes 23 half-centuries and 12 three-figure scores.
He may well get an opportunity to bat on his first day in Test cricket as the home side have won the toss and are batting first.
Speaking of proceedings so far, India got off to a horrendous start as they lost their first wicket in the form of Mayank Agarwal with the score at 21 in the 8th over.
New Zealand seamers Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, in particular, made the most of whatever movement they could get and constantly challenged the opener on and around the off-stump.
Shubman Gill survived a few close overs against Southee and a certain LBW call against Ajaz Patel but Agarwal wasn’t that lucky.
Jamieson was finally rewarded for his probing lengths as he induced an outside edge off Agarwal’s bat with keeper Blundell doing the rest.
However, since then Gill and Pujara have stitched 58 runs for the wicket, with the former playing some glittering strokes. At the time of writing, Gill had brought up his 4th Test fifty and 2nd on home soil.