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EXCLUSIVE: Avesh Khan broke the selection news to me, excited to play under Rohit Sharma, says Venkatesh Iyer after maiden India call up | Cricket News


NEW DELHI: Venkatesh Iyer was in his room after Madhya Pradesh’s Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 match against Kerala on Tuesday. Madhya Pradesh had lost the match. But then suddenly there was some absolutely unexpected good news for the 26-year-old hard hitting all-rounder.
There was a knock on the door. Iyer opened the door and found his MP teammate and talented medium pacer Avesh Khan at the door. Avesh smiled and said ‘bhai congratulations’ and hugged him. Iyer was taken aback. He asked Avesh about what had happened and the pacer broke the news about Iyer’s selection in the Indian team for the upcoming home T20I series vs New Zealand. Iyer was elated and hugged Avesh, who has also been picked in the 16 man squad for the T20I series against the Black Caps.
“I am so happy. I worked really hard for it. Honestly, I didn’t expect this. Every time when I go in the middle, I just want to perform and put up as many runs as possible for my team. I am really thankful to the selectors, captain, and all my seniors and coaches for this. It is a dream of every cricketer to wear an India jersey someday and the day has come. I am so so happy. The words are not enough to describe the feeling. Avesh broke this big news to me,” Iyer told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.

Venkatesh Iyer made headlines in the recently concluded 2021 IPL phase 2, while playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders. The KKR team management decided to open with the very tall left-handed batsman and they reaped rich dividends thanks to that call. Iyer scored 370 runs in 10 matches, averaging 41.11. He also hit 37 fours and 14 sixes on his IPL debut, at a strike rate of 128.47. Iyer was also adjudged Man of the match in Qualifier 2 against the Delhi Capitals. He also bowled 8.3 overs in the tournament and took 3 wickets.

Venkatesh Iyer (Image credit: BCCI/IPL)
Iyer’s pyrotechnics with the bat made everyone sit up and notice this lanky and clearly very talented all-rounder and the selectors were no exceptions. There was a lot of talk about how Iyer should maybe have been part of the India World Cup squad also. Though his India call-up can be called a fast tracked call-up, it’s not really a surprise, considering he has demonstrated what a big game changer he can be.

And with that Iyer found a place in the 16-man India squad for the upcoming 3 T20I series vs New Zealand at home. The three T20Is will be played as follows – November 17 in Jaipur, November 19 in Ranchi, and November 21 in Kolkata.
Though it was his batting in the IPL that caught everyone’s attention, Iyer is a genuine all-rounder. He has as many as 46 wickets in domestic cricket, across formats in 87 matches. He bats left-handed, but bowls right hand medium pace.

Venkatesh Iyer (Image credit: BCCI/IPL)
“I am an allrounder. I will look forward to fitting in whatever role my team (India) would want from me. I am not thinking about the opposition at the moment. I am just looking forward to performing for my team,” Iyer further told TimesofIndia.com.
Iyer incidentally is the highest run-getter for Madhya Pradesh in the ongoing edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – 155 runs in 5 matches at an average of 51.66 and a strike rate of 140.90 – so far.
“I have learnt to bat fearlessly. I always wanted to be a fearless batsman. I go out to bat with a lot of confidence. I am ready to bat at any position and bowl in any situation,” Iyer said.
With Virat Kohli stepping down as T20I captain, a new era has begun, with Rohit Sharma becoming the new India T20I skipper. There is in fact a lot of T20I cricket that the team will play moving forward. The next edition of the T20 World Cup will be played next year in Australia.

Venkatesh Iyer (Image credit: Facebook)
“I am really excited to play under Rohit bhai. I am really looking forward to it. He is such a great player. The team looks really strong. I am sure we will perform well. It will be a huge learning experience as well and it will be exciting to play under Rohit bhai,” Iyer further told TimesofIndia.com.
After the IPL 2021 season, Iyer was one of the players who was asked by the BCCI to stay on in the UAE as a net bowler for the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.
“During the nets sessions, I had interactions with most of the senior players. Virat bhai said just be focused on what you are doing. He also said you are doing good and keep performing and keep working hard. He asked me to keep focusing on my game. I will remember those tips from Virat bhai forever,” Iyer signed off.

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