For a bustling city like Mumbai, Adarsh Nagar is a rather quiet locality with clean roads and trees on either side of the street. It is one of those places which will offer a rare sight of the city without breaking the stereotype that has come to define it. Certain six- to seven-decade-old residential societies are undergoing redevelopment, while the rest frighteningly await the same fate. Nonetheless, it manages to retain an old-world charm, with Shreyas Iyer‘s friends gathering to play a game of cricket. Also Read - IPL 2021, KKR vs MI Match 5 at MA Chidambaram Stadium: Weather Forecast, Pitch Report, Predicted Playing XIs, Head to Head, Toss Timing, Squads For Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians

Back from a two-match unofficial Test series against South Africa A, Shreyas seemed to be in a hurry to get done with the interview. He feared that a gully cricket match with his friends-cum-rivals will begin without him! Also Read - Nia Sharma Grooves To 'In Da Club' on The Street of Mumbai Amid COVID-19 Spike | WATCH

“He takes his cricket seriously. Even in gully cricket, he is extremely competitive,” said one of his friends. The evidence was present, as Shreyas vented out his frustration on his teammate for not turning a single into two. Also Read - Anupama Actor Rupali Ganguly Tests Negative For COVID-19, To Resume Shoot Soon Along With Sudhanshu Pandey

It was merely a game of street cricket, played by a cricketer who had just come back playing for India A. But, he took it very seriously. For every run, he was present. “Shreyas likes competition. Many a times, he chooses to play in a weaker team, just so that he can beat the stronger ones,” added his friend.

Things have come a long way as far as street cricket is concerned. He is no more the eight-year old who was placed in a corner only to fetch balls by much older boys, as his father recounted. Today, he poses a threat to the same guys who didn’t take him seriously.

Aditya Tare, his Mumbai teammate and captain, summed up the 20-year-old well. He said, “Shreyas is one of those players I’ve seen who are high on confidence. He loves taking challenges. That is one of his best qualities. He never shies away from any challenge or problem. He takes it head on. That’s the kind of a player you want in the team, and you want the other guys to follow his attitude.”

But much before all this talk about him happened, he was busy finding ways to get done with the interview to go out and play. He rushed through with his answers, and looked impatient to the technical adjustments of cameras and microphones. But in all the rush, there was one question that stopped time for him, lit up his face and allowed him to speak his heart out!

“Do you like to bowl?”

Despite having made a reputation for himself with the bat, becoming the highest run-scorer for Mumbai and Delhi Daredevils in his only appearance in the Ranji Trophy and Indian Premier League respectively, nothing made him happier during the interview than the thought of taking wickets.

He spoke about the 21 wickets he had picked in the English League last year, bowling most number of overs for his side. He spoke about his conversation with former India captain Rahul Dravid and the two wickets he bagged for India A. He proudly mentions, “Quinton de Kock and Keshav Maharaj.” He took pride in his leg-breaks.

“On the field, he wants to do everything. He wants to bowl well, and not just bat. He wants to field well – field everywhere. You want that kind of a character in your team,” Tare summed up.

Playing for Payyade in the HD Kanga League, Shreyas bagged four wickets to take his side to win. In an interview to The Times of India, he said, “It helps if a batsman bowls, especially when the bowlers need some rest. I’ll bowl in the Ranji Trophy too. If my part-time bowling can make me look like an all-rounder, I’m fine with that.”

On being asked why he chooses to practice the more difficult art of leg-spin, he brings out the other aspect of a rather reserved personality saying, “That’s exactly why I chose it,”  Part-time leg-spinner, India?

Edited by Shweta Parande.