Former India batsman VVS Laxman opined that Venkatesh Iyer should be groomed in the middle-order all-rounder’s role, and he can be a back-up to Hardik Pandya.
The KKR opener who took the second half of IPL 2021 by storm with his exploits at the top has been given his maiden India call-up for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand. Iyer slammed 370 runs in 10 IPL matches with four fifties, including a half-century in the final.
VVS Laxman pointed out India already have a surplus of opening options. He asserted that since Hardik Pandya is struggling with his bowling fitness, Venkatesh Iyer is the best backup option in the seam-bowling all-rounder category.
“I just want someone like Venkatesh Iyer to bat out of his position. India have got five openers in that squad and you know that Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are your front-runners for that spot. So Venkatesh Iyer needs to fit but not in the top order,” VVS Laxman told Star Sports.
“You want him to bat at No. 5 or No. 6, and also chip in with the bowling, probably a couple of overs or more and make him get used to that position. He could be the back-up to Hardik Pandya. You can develop Venkatesh Iyer as a utility all-rounder.”
Players have rewarded the players who have done well in the IPL: VVS Laxman
Along with Venkatesh Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Harshal Patel, and Avesh Khan have been rewarded for their IPL performances by being included in the 16-man squad as Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja have been given a deserved rest.
VVS Laxman stressed that India need to try out players considering that the next T20 World Cup is less than a year away, to be hosted in Australia.
“I think they have rewarded the players who have done well in the IPL, which is the way forward keeping in mind that the World Cup is going to happen in Australia in one year’s time. I think it is an excellent squad, not only in the batting department but also in the fast-bowling unit as well. There is Harshal Patel who is excellent in the death overs… there is Avesh Khan who has got express pace,” the 47-year-old added.
The three T20Is against New Zealand will be played in Jaipur (November 17), Ranchi (November 19) and Kolkata (November 21), followed by Tests in Kanpur (November 25-29) and Mumbai (December 3-7).
India’s squad for New Zealand T20Is:
Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj.