Venkatesh Iyer-Hardik Pandya

Indian all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer said that he doesn’t pay attention to his comparisons with senior player Hardik Pandya in the national team. Venkatesh Iyer was the revelation of IPL 2021 as he scored 370 runs in 10 innings at a strike rate of 128.47 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the second phase of IPL 2021.

The Madhya Pradesh player’s brilliance with the bat not only cruised KKR to the IPL 2021 final but also paved the way for him to the Indian team’s white-ball affairs. Just after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup, Venkatesh was named in India’s T20I squad in the three-match series against New Zealand at home.

Venkatesh Iyer’s journey with the Indian team so far

Venkatesh Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav
Venkatesh Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav. (Photo: BCCI)

Iyer was slotted in the lower middle-order where he batted twice at No.6 position and once at No.3, he scored just 36 runs in his international debut series. He was also part of India’s ODI squad for their South Africa tour earlier this year.

Iyer managed to score just 24 runs in the first two ODI matches and was later benched for the final match. He was subsequently dropped from the ODI squad against West Indies but continued to feature in the shortest format for India.

In the three-match T20I series against West Indies, the lanky all-rounder amassed 92 runs at a strike rate of 184, he smashed 35 runs off 19 balls in the final T20I match. Venkatesh’s ability to roll the arms and give a handful of overs with the ball makes him a likely contender for India’s all-rounder role in the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

I have huge respect for Hardik Pandya: Venkatesh Iyer

Many cricket experts have backed the Madhya Pradesh all-rounder to replace Hardik in India’s T20 World Cup squad. Hardik hasn’t played any competitive level cricket since the T20 World Cup debacle, he was seen struggling to play in the showpiece event.

Hardik Pandya, Indian Bowler
Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: Twitter)

Venkatesh said he admires the Baroda all-rounder for his services to the Indian team in the past and doesn’t pay any attention to the comparisons between them.

“As a cricketer, I have huge respect for Hardik bhai for what he has done for India. It is unbelievable. I am a huge admirer of Hardik bhai. These comparisons are very natural, but I pay no heed to them,” Venkatesh told TimesofIndia.com. 

Venkatesh was one of the four players retained by KKR during the IPL 2022 players’ retention list whereas Hardik is all set to lead IPL debutants Gujarat Titans in the upcoming season of the cash-rich league.

Also Read: IPL 2022: Though Shreyas Iyer Is Young, He Has Got A Lot Of Experience Already – Venkatesh Iyer