Cricket NewsVenkatesh Iyer, an all-around player for India, hopes to play again for...

    Venkatesh Iyer, an all-around player for India, hopes to play again for his country and perform at his highest level.


    Venkatesh Iyer, an all-around player, made his international debut for India in November 2021 against New Zealand. The Madhya Pradesh-born cricketer was called up by the Indian management to replace an injured Hardik Pandya after having an impressive run for Kolkata Knight Riders in the UAE leg of the IPL 2021. After Hardik’s return to the team, Iyer, who participated in nine T20Is and two ODIs for the national team, was benched. Later, Iyer’s entry into the team was obstructed by Hardik’s outstanding performance in the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup 2022. The 27-year-old batter is nevertheless optimistic about returning to the national team and performing at his peak.

    “Who doesn’t want to have a long run with the Indian team? Even though I wanted that, I clearly understood the way Hardik bhai came back. What he did was really amazing. Every team wants to pick the best team for the World Cup. I would have wanted to be there, but again it’s not in my hands. I have always looked at cricket as an opportunity. If am not playing with the Indian cricket team, it’s my opportunity to play in the IPL or represent my state side in domestic competitions,” Iyer said.

    “My job is to only do my process right and not worry about selection. I might have been in the team for the T20s and ODIs going on, but I, unfortunately, sustained an injury. I will ensure that when I get to play, I will give my best and not worry about anything else,” he added. Iyer used to play the opener position for Kolkata Knight Riders, but when he was called up to fill Hardik’s spot, he was given the finisher position. The all-rounder claimed that Rohit Sharma, the captain, and coach Rahul Dravid gave him their full support as he adapted to the finisher’s role.

    “When I got into the team, I looked at the team and saw three openers already there. Rohit bhai, KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan were already there. So I knew I am not going to open. And then when I met Rahul sir and he asked me how I used to approach the innings when I used to open and it was communicated to me that I will play the role of a finisher. Whenever someone gives you a new role, they also give you a cushion. That was done. Rohit bhai and Rahul sir told me that I would be given a string of games to try and execute that role. And once you have the captain and coach’s backing, the job becomes all the easier,” said Iyer.

    Iyer has scored 133 runs at a strike rate of 162.2 in nine T20Is. He only managed 24 runs in two ODI games. In terms of Team India, the visitors will face the Kiwis for a three-match ODI series beginning on Friday after winning the rain-affected three-match T20I series against them by a score of 1-0.


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