It is the same Green Park where the stylish Mumbaikar launched himself as a red-ball batter against a potent Uttar Pradesh attack seven years ago in the Ranji Trophy. Since then, Iyer has averaged 52.18 from 54 first-class games.
He came close to making his Test debut when he was called up as a replacement for the injured Virat Kohli for the Dharamsala game against Australia in 2017.
A photograph of him holding the Border-Gavaskar trophy at the picturesque Dharamsala stadium became his motivation factor. Recalling the day during a chat with Mid-Day, his father Santosh said:
“I have had this DP since then. I have never changed it because I always wanted to remind him that this [playing Test cricket] should be his ultimate goal. I am thrilled it’s finally happening."
Four years down the line, the dream turned into reality.
“We always wanted him to play Test cricket. I have been telling Shreyas to try for a Test spot. He always used to say that it will happen. So, that’s what has happened now. Honestly, we were not expecting it to happen against New Zealand. I will be on my toes, certainly. We expect him to perform well. It is a big opportunity since other stalwarts are not in the team," the father added.
“He never tells us anything" - Shreyas Iyer's father on son's Test debut
It was only after stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane's announcement at the pre-match press conference did Shreyas' father come to know that his son would be making his Test debut.
"He never tells us anything about his cricket or what is happening. He wants to surprise us. I had called yesterday [Tuesday] to wish him all the best for his first red-ball practice after a long time,” Santosh stated.
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Walking in at No 5, Iyer remained unbeaten on 75 as India closed the opening day at 258/4 after opting to bat.