IPL not the only platform that gave me belief of representing India: Venkatesh Iyer

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10 Nov 2021 | 08:17 AM
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IPL not the only platform that gave me belief of representing India: Venkatesh Iyer

After a successful stint with KKR in the second half of IPL 2021, the India all-rounder has been named for the T20Is against New Zealand

After an excellent stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, Venkatesh Iyer has earned his maiden call-up to the national side. He is one of the 16 members who has been named in the T20 International (T20I) series against New Zealand starting November 17.

IPL was not the only platform through which Iyer believed he could make it to the Indian team. He thinks his good show in the domestic circuit for Madhya Pradesh also gave him the belief that he could play for India one day.

"I must say that it was not just about IPL that gave me the belief that I could represent my country," Iyer told PTI.

"When I was playing Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali for my state Madhya Pradesh, I always knew that if I carry on with good performances in domestic cricket, I would play for India one day. I always had that belief," he said.

As an all-rounder who strives to play in all three formats, Iyer understands that workload management is of the essence. "My workload management has been good so far. I am an all-rounder so I have to be equally focussed on both aspects of the game. That's what I have been doing right from my age-group state-level days. It's so far not been a very big issue," the suave Kolkata Kight Riders man told PTI in an exclusive interaction.

For Iyer, the endeavour is to display multiple skills across formats. "I have always worked hard on my red-ball game and it has been my conscious effort not to be one dimensional. "If you have to play for India, you have to be consistent across formats and that's why I have put in a lot of work in both departments of the game.

"As much as I have worked on my batting, I have also worked on my bowling," said Iyer, who many like Harbhajan Singh believe can shock batters with extra pace.

Having lived in Indore, it was local coach Dinesh Sharma, who first tapped his talent as he made rapid strides while rising through the ranks of age-group cricket, captaining the U-23 state team. When he touched base in the United Arab Emirates with the KKR team in the last week of August, he wouldn't have imagined that he would make such progress in a matter of months.

Two and half months later, he was sitting in his Delhi hotel room with Madhya Pradesh teammates when fellow national team entrant Avesh Khan broke the news to him. "We had a match (vs Kerala) and it was Avesh who came to my room and informed that both of us have been selected. Obviously, there couldn't have been a better feeling," Iyer revealed while sitting with his teammates.

He was honest in his admission that while he was working on his dream, he didn't think it would be realised so soon. "No, I never felt that life will take such a beautiful turn. I don't expect anything but believe in taking things as they come. Yes, I am very happy and excited as this is the dream you live for but frankly speaking, I never expected it to happen so soon," Iyer said.

The lesser-known aspect about Iyer is that he once got a job offer in multi-national auditing company Deloitte but decided to pursue cricket with encouragement from his parents. With an MBA degree in finance, he has cleared the foundation and inter-level exams of Chartered Accountancy. Iyer attributes his cricketing smarts to him being a diligent student.

"(Being good at) academics helps your thinking and decision-making ability. It gives you an edge over others may be. Being a good student is something that has come naturally to me.

"It does give me a bit of edge over others," said the lanky man from Indore, who could well be Rohit Sharma's lethal weapon.

(With inputs from PTI)

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New Zealand tour of India, 2021IndiaKolkata Knight RidersVenkatesh Iyer

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