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Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane praises under-fire Shreyas Iyer ahead of Ranji Trophy semifinal

“I don't think he needs any encouragement or advice. He has always contributed with the bat for Mumbai, and him being around other players in the dressing room will also help the team’s cause," Ajinkya Rahane said on the eve of the Ranji Trophy semifinal round.

Sumeet Kavthale Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Published on: March 01, 2024 19:20 IST
Ajinkya Rahane
Image Source : PTI Mumbai cricket team captain Ajinkya Rahane

Shreyas Iyer will be under scanner when Mumbai clash against Tamil Nadu in the second semifinal of the Ranji Trophy 2024 starting on March 2. The star Indian batter was shockingly excluded from the BCCI's annual central contract list after impressive performances in the ICC World Cup 2023 tournament.

Iyer, 29, was dropped from India's Test squad after a series of low-scoring knocks on the South Africa tour and in the first two Test matches against England at home. However, he was reportedly asked to play domestic cricket but Shreyas skipped Mumbai's quarter-final game against Baroda.

As a result, he has no central contract despite scoring over 500 runs in the World Cup two hundreds and now he turns to Ranji Cricket to earn his place back in the national team. Iyer boasts impressive numbers in first-class cricket with 5559 runs in 70 matches at an average of 49.19 and will definitely boost Mumbai's chances against Tamil Nadu in the semifinal.

Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane seemed delighted with Iyer's inclusion in the squad for the semifinal game. The veteran Indian batter highlighted Iyer's impressive numbers for Mumbai and also added that his presence in the dressing room will help the team's cause.

“He's an experienced player," Ajinkya Rahane told media in Mumbai. "His contribution has been amazing whenever he turned up for Mumbai. We are thrilled to have him in our team for the semifinal. I don't think he needs any encouragement or advice. He has always contributed with the bat for Mumbai, and him being around other players in the dressing room will also help the team’s cause.”

Rahane also talked about his poor performances in the 2024 season where he has recorded just one fifty. The top-order batter revealed that he will not think about his numbers ahead of crucial games and will try to play freely. 

“It’s just a phase and you have to respect it (not scoring runs). When you're batting well and scoring runs, it happens consistently. There's nothing wrong with my batting. I just have to remain positive and back my game and instinct. I just have to go out there and play freely. I feel as a player you have to be confident and respect a phase, move forward and learn whatever you can. You don't want to go too far ahead,” Rahane added.

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