IPL 2022: Shreyas Iyer is a natural born leader, says KKR mentor Hussey

Kolkata Knight Riders mentor David Hussey believes the new skipper Shreyas Iyer has a great cricket brain and has proven his leadership skills during his stint as captain of Delhi Capitals.

Iyer, who led Delhi Capitals to the finals in 2020, was bought by KKR in the mega auction last month for Rs 12.25 crore.

He was named captain by the KKR team management, ahead of pacer Pat Cummins, who leads the Australian Test side.

“Shreyas is a natural born leader, just the way he walks around commands respect. Knowing Pat (Cummins) very well, he would make a good deputy and would lead from the front too,” Hussey said at a virtual press conference on Wednesday. †

“But the way Shreyas has captained Delhi in the past, he has a very good cricket brain and a beautiful vision of how to play the game and I think he will express himself very well. I think it is a smart move by Brendon (McCullum) and KKR management.” Iyer has been in sensational form for India recently.

Asked about Hussey how he would coach the 27-year-old, he replied: “The best coaching is to just leave the good players alone and let them go where they work.

“He’s in rare form at the moment. I don’t know him, I’m getting to know him, but he comes across as a real leader and someone who knows his game very well.”

KKR was dealt a blow after T20 specialist Alex Hales withdrew from the tournament due to bubble fatigue.

Adding further to KKR’s woes is that Australian duo Cummins and Aaron Finch, who were strapped in as a replacement for Hales, are expected to miss the team’s first few games as they tour Pakistan.

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“It is a concern not to have your best players available, but to say that international cricket is paramount. They miss the first five games but they will hit the ground, match fit. Both are quality players. Hopefully they can perform like the game plan,” said Hussey.

KKR also picked up the disgraced Ajinkya Rahane and Hussey is confident the former India Test vice-captain will be fine.

“He has been a class player for over ten years, he dominated for Rajasthan Royals and I believe he has at least another 5-10 years of international cricket in him.

“He may not be scoring the runs he wants lately, but the way he trains, he will dominate in the IPL and he’s also a leader in the group.”

The former Australian all-rounder believes KKR has been able to build a “balanced” bowling attack.

“Good to have Umesh Yadav on the side again. He works hard on his game and he is an absolute beast and hopefully he charges and bowls exceptionally fast.

“We have good fast bowlers in Umesh, (Tim) Southee, (Shivam) Mavi and Cummins and good spin in Varun (Chakravarthy) and (Sunil) Narine,” he said.

When asked if KKR lacks a good wicket-keeper, Hussey replied: “No, I think we’ll be happy after the auction.

“We have Sheldon Jackson who is a great wicket-keeper, a good striker of the cricket ball and dominating in the Ranji Trophy, he’s also been part of our team for a long time and I think he’ll set the tournament on fire.

“Then we have Sam Billings. He’s also a quality wicket-keeper who has played test cricket for England and kept wickets in the shorter format so I think we’re pretty well versed in the goalkeeping division and we’re well balanced in all divisions of our team .”

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