Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen strongly criticized Shreyas Iyer’s performance in the second Test between India and England in Visakhapatnam, questioning the Indian batter’s drive and commitment to retaining his place in the Test side. Despite being expected to play a more significant role in the batting line-up in the absence of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Ravindra Jadeja, Iyer managed only 27 runs off 59 deliveries in an innings filled with unconventional approaches against both spin and pace.

Iyer’s unexpected dismissal occurred in the 51st over of India’s first innings at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium. India was making steady progress under Yashasvi Jaiswal’s watch when Iyer’s time in the middle was cut short by Tom Hartley, thanks to sharp glovework from Ben Foakes. The delivery was back of a length outside off, tempting Iyer into a cut shot, but the ball skidded low, took an under-edge, and landed in the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

While Iyer walked back disappointed, Pietersen, expressing his views on Jio Cinema, remarked that this innings might haunt him when players like Virat Kohli make their return, potentially jeopardizing his position in the India XI.

“Listen, when Kohli comes back and other guys come back [KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja] and these are the days these boys are going to look back and go, ‘oh why did I not get a hundred? I had the opportunity to get the hundred’. And when you are sloppy like that, getting out doesn’t impress me at all,” he said. “You got to really grab the game by the scruff of its neck and say I am not letting go here. I am afraid to say with Shreyas it all seems a bit too sloppy. Sloppy is the word.”

 Jyotirmay Das (@dasjy0tirmay) February 2, 2024

Shreyas Iyer’s struggle against shorter deliveries has been extensively documented, and England, particularly James Anderson, sought to exploit this weakness by delivering a couple of overs filled with such deliveries, strategically placing fielders in the deep. Initially attempting the pull shot, the Indian batter altered his approach, shuffling down to the leg side to flat bat the deliveries through the off side. However, this change in tactic came with its fair share of risks. In his first attempt, he narrowly avoided dragging the ball onto the stumps, providing amusement to the England players. (IND vs ENG 2nd Test: Shubman Gill Brutally Trolled After He Fells Prey To James Anderson)

Despite expectations that Iyer would excel against spinners given his impressive record against the variety in Test cricket, he resorted to a similar technique when facing bowlers like Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, and Joe Root. This approach left Kevin Pietersen visibly frustrated, and he raised the issue during the Tea break on Day 1 of the second Test.

Read More