Shreyas Iyer is always tuned in for the wave of short pitched deliveries.
Against Iyer in his present avatar though, the opposition is unlikely to ever give up on that mode of attack.
And so Trent Boult, in the 22nd over of the innings, went at Iyer with a short ball precise in its line and length – outside off-stump and head high.
Boult’s angle from around the wicket also portended greater difficulty in keeping the ball down with the pull shot. Iyer still went for it and picked out Devon Conway at the deep square leg boundary.
It wasn't at all surprising therefore that Iyer worked extensively on tackling the short ball in India's training session at the Wankhede here on Tuesday.
Iyer has been singularly subjected to this mode of practice even earlier at this World Cup.
In Chennai, for instance, it was head coach Rahul Dravid who was challenging Iyer by hitting tennis balls directed at his shoulder.
Skipper Rohit Sharma has also had discussions with Iyer along these lines during previous sessions.
Iyer, India's favoured No. 4 for the last four years, has consistently struggled with the short ball throughout his six-year international career.
Despite his impressive ODI statistics—1931 runs in 52 matches with an average of 45.97 and a strike rate of 97.42—his vulnerability to short-pitched deliveries remains a persistent concern.
Iyer's prominence as India's No. 4 is evident from his extensive innings at that position, surpassing all others in the past four years.
His recent inclusion in the Asia Cup after recovering from back surgery underscores his valuable combination of consistency and aggression.
However, beneath these impressive numbers lies a recurring issue that demands a long-term solution for Iyer to establish himself as a versatile and resilient batsman.
The short ball challenge was evident in his latest encounter with New Zealand in Dharamsala.
Despite showcasing his prowess with eye-catching pulls against Lockie Ferguson, the opposition, aware of his vulnerability, persists in exploiting this weakness.
In the 22nd over against Trent Boult, Iyer fell prey to a precisely delivered short ball outside off-stump and head high, getting caught at deep square leg.
Recognising this vulnerability, Iyer dedicated significant efforts to address the issue during India's training session.
Shreyas Iyer found himself under the spotlight once again as he grappled with his Achilles' heel—the short ball — during India's practice session ahead of the World Cup clash against Sri Lanka.
The absence of top-order stalwarts like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shubman Gill made it an optional session, with Iyer's battle against the rising delivery taking center stage.
Fresh from a resounding victory over England, the renowned Indian bowling attack chose rest, understanding the importance of keeping their arsenal in top shape for the upcoming challenges.
Despite their dominance in the points table, the team remains committed to addressing any lingering concerns.
Iyer's struggle against short-pitched deliveries and his quest for substantial scores at the coveted No. 4 position were evident in his focused training approach.
The Mumbai-based batsman, sharing his homeground with skipper Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav, and Shardul Thakur, faced an onslaught of short balls from dedicated throwdown specialists.
With long batting stints on the designated strip for the upcoming match, Iyer donned a chest guard while showcasing his prowess in pulling and hooking short deliveries.
To his credit, Iyer responded with finesse, dispatching powerful strikes that often found their way into the stands or over the ropes.
In a twist, India's head coach Rahul Dravid took on the role of feeding throwdowns to Iyer, while batting coach Paras Mhambrey observed from a distance.
Fielding coach T Dilip, known for his unique award ceremonies, also contributed to Iyer's preparation with his throwdowns.