“Wanted To Be There…”: India All-Rounder After Not Being Picked In T20 World Cup Squad

All-rounder Venkatesh Iyer made his debut for the Indian team in November 2021, against New Zealand. After having a remarkable run in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 for Kolkata Knight Riders, the Madhya Pradesh-born cricketer was called-in by the Indian management to fill-in the shoes of an injured Hardik Pandya. Iyer, who played nine T20Is and two ODIs for the national side, was dropped after Hardik’s return to the team. Later, Hardik’s terrific performance in the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup 2022, blocked Iyer’s way in the team. However, the 27-year old batter is hopeful of playing again for the national side and giving his best.

“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 told CricketNext.

“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 had played a role of an opener while he was in Kolkata Knight Riders but when he was called-in as Hardik’s replacement, he was given a finisher’s role. The all-rounder stated that he had full support from coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma while adapting 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.

In nine T20Is, Iyer has scored 133 runs at a strike rate of 162.2. In ODIs, he scored only 24 runs in two matches.

Talking about Team India, after clinching the rain-interrupted three-match T20I series against New Zealand 1-0, the guests will be squaring off against the Kiwis for the three-match ODI series, starting on Friday.

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