January 17, 2022

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The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Rahul will lead India to ODI series win in SA: Venkatesh Iyer

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Rahul will lead India to ODI series win in SA: Venkatesh Iyer
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Rahul will lead India to ODI series win in SA: Venkatesh Iyer

NEW DELHI: An all-rounder in a cricket team is worth his or her weight in gold.
For the India men’s senior team, Hardik Pandya seemed like a long-term bet to play that role. However, with Hardik being sidelined for the moment as he works to be able to bowl at full tilt, Team India is looking for a dependable all-rounder, especially in limited-overs cricket.
The latest Indian ODI squad that was announced for the 3 ODI series vs South Africa has two all-rounders. One medium pace all-rounder in Venkatesh Iyer and a spinning all-rounder in Washington Sundar.
Iyer, who made headlines after an impressive IPL 2021 season where he played a crucial role in taking KKR to the final, earned his maiden national call-up when he was picked for the T20I series against New Zealand at home in November 2021. In 3 matches, Iyer managed to score 36 runs at an average of 18.00.
After winning the three-match series 3-0, Iyer switched to domestic duties. The 27-year old was the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored 379 runs in 6 matches at an average of 63.17, including two centuries and one fifty. He also hit the highest number of sixes in the tournament – 21.

Rahul will lead India to ODI series win in SA: Venkatesh Iyer

(Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)
Impressed by his domestic performance and with Hardik Pandya still not available to fulfill all-rounder duties, Iyer has been given another opportunity – a place in India’s ODI squad for South Africa. For the selectors, the main focus in many ways is the 2022 T20 World Cup and Venkatesh Iyer is a prospect who is very much on the selectors radar for that.
“I am really happy. I am really looking forward to another challenge and want to win the series (ODI series vs SA) for my team. I am really happy and excited to play against South Africa. South African conditions are challenging and I am ready to take on this challenge,” Iyer told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.
India, who are currently playing a Test series in South Africa, are scheduled to lock horns in a three-ODI series against the Proteas, starting January 19 at Boland Park in Paarl. The second ODI will be played on January 21 at the same venue and the third and final ODI will take place at Newlands in Cape Town.
Iyer is excited and looking forward to the South African challenge, under stand-in captain KL Rahul, who is filling in since Rohit Sharma is still not fully fit.
“We have players in our team who have played a lot of cricket in South Africa, be it Tests or limited overs. I want to discuss the conditions and experience (of playing in SA) with Virat bhai. What the conditions are like, how the pitches behave, and of course his personal experience. It will help me acclimatise to the conditions quickly. . I am looking forward to learning from all the players in the team,” an excited Iyer said.
“KL (Rahul) is a good leader. I won my debut series (vs New Zealand) under Rohit bhai. I am really excited to play under KL. He is a different kind of captain and I look forward to learning a lot on this tour. I am sure KL will take us to a series win,” the 27 year old from Madhya Pradesh further told TimesofIndia.com.

Rahul will lead India to ODI series win in SA: Venkatesh Iyer

(ANI Photo)
IYER AND THE DUAL RESPONSIBILITY
Iyer’s approach is clear – tick both boxes (batting and bowling) in style. He wants to be perfect in both departments. Apart from scoring 36 runs in the T20I series vs NZ at home earlier, Iyer claimed one wicket in the series.
In the first two matches, Rohit didn’t bring him into the attack, but gave him three overs to bowl in the third and final T20I.
In three overs, Iyer conceded just 12 runs (economy: 4.00) and dismissed Adam Milne.
“It’s a tough role (being an all-rounder) because you have to perform and be on top in all departments – batting, bowling as well as fielding. I want to maintain perfect balance in the team with the dual role. I am ready for any challenge and opportunity I get in my career. I will try to make the most of the opportunities and contribute in both departments. It’s a privilege to perform for the country,” Iyer, who scored 370 runs in 10 matches, with four fifties in the last season of the IPL further told TimesofIndia.com.
“During my debut series, I got to witness first-hand how international cricket is played. It was a huge learning experience for me. After the tour, I put in a lot of work into my bowling. I want to be perfect in both departments – batting and bowling. I am an allrounder and I know I need to be ready to perform both roles,” Iyer further said.
“I put in a lot of hard work during practice and that gives me a lot of confidence to handle pressure. If you are confident about your skills, then you can do whatever you want in the middle. I always maintain my practice schedule and follow it religiously. My practice schedule is going amazingly well and it is working fantastically for me,” the all-rounder said.

Rahul will lead India to ODI series win in SA: Venkatesh Iyer

(Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)
NO COMPETITION WITH HARDIK PANDYA SAYS IYER
If Iyer starts performing well as an all-rounder that would of course give the selectors and the team management another added option. But does he himself see himself as competition for someone like Hardik Pandya?
Iyer responded to this by saying – “I don’t play for (any kind of) competition (with other players), I play for my team. I am playing because I have got the opportunity from the selectors and my captain. When I go out in the middle to bat, I just focus on batting and try to put as many runs (on the board as possible) for my team. When my captain gives me the ball, I think as a bowler and try to control the flow of runs and take wickets”.
“I am an all-rounder and have to think like an all-rounder, not a batsman or a bowler. It’s a dual responsibility. If I think about what is going on off the field or outside the ground, I won’t be able to focus on my game. I just want to see my team win matches and I want to do the job for my team,” Iyer signed off.

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