Venkatesh Iyer had a dream run last year, performed incredibly well in Vijay Hazare trophy and shouldered the expectations of Kolkata Knight Riders, powering KKR to the final of IPL 2021. Although the franchise could not win the tournament but the promising all-rounder has shown tremendous potential and has also attracted a lot of attention from cricket pundits.
Venkatesh has been named in the ODI squad against South Africa and it will be his maiden 50-over outing with the national side. Before the highly anticipated ODI series, SportsTiger exclusively talked to Venkatesh Iyer about his inclusion in the national side, recent successful stint in domestic circuit and about his preparation for the upcoming series against Proteas.
Excerpts from the interview are as follows-:
Question: Foremost, congratulations for your incredible show in the domestic circuit last year, you have been named in the ODI squad against South Africa. Kindly share your methods of preparation for such crucial series.
Answer: Preparations are the same, nothing special. I am just focusing on basics and trying to implement it during my net sessions. There is a specific method which I always follow before any of the crucial series, and those are the same methods I am more focusing on. But, South African conditions are different from anywhere else, keeping that in mind I am working on a few of my techniques which could help me to perform well.
Question: Are you nervous or excited for such crucial series?
Answer: See, every match or series for the country is crucial and equally important. I am thinking of it as something different, I am preparing and in all the departments, fitness, bowling, batting techniques and psychology. So, I am definitely excited for the series and hoping to make a mark.
Question: You have been incredible form in the domestic circuit, due to which expectations from you are very high. Cricket pundits are betting on you heavily as a prominent all-rounder for the team. Are you aiming for the same?
Answer: I feel humble and obliged with all the expectations. But I never feel that way, I am just hoping to get some opportunity to represent the nation and do well. That's my whole objective right now.
Question: You had a great IPL 2021 with KKR, and also helped them to reach finals, then you were great too in the Vijay Hazare trophy. What worked so well for you last year?
Answer: I was just focusing on one match, one day, and responsibility at a given time. I wasn't exaggerating anything. I was confident of myself and just executed my basics in each and every game. Being confident, and implementing basics has always worked well for me, and I am hoping to do the same in upcoming tournaments.
Question: How playing in the domestic circuit helps players for overseas tournaments?
Answer: Playing in local tournaments builds a foundation for any players, and also helps us to face a variety of players. It prepares us well for overseas conditions too. Also, playing consistently in the domestic circuit helps us psychologically in crucial situations in ICC tournaments.
Question: Lot has happened in recent times in regards to ODI captaincy. But eventually, it's KL Rahul who will be leading the side against South Africa. What do you think of KL Rahul as a captain?
Answer: He is an incredible player and a great guy to play with. See, he has been incredible as a captain in IPL and is also doing well in the Test match. His team is in a dominating position and hoping to seal the series in the 2nd Test match. I am really excited to play along with him, and hope he will guide us to a series win in the ODI's as well.
Question: After years, Virat Kohli will be playing as a batsman and not as a captain. What are your expectations from him?
Answer: Again, Virat bhai is just great. There is so much to learn from him, as a batsman, team player and as an individual. He has so much to offer to all the youngsters like him. Talking about expectations, the whole world expects from him when he comes to the crease. I am very much excited to join him in the dressing room and also to play alongside him.
Question: Belated Happy New Year! What's your resolution for the new year?
Answer: I just want to stay fit, healthy and make use of all the opportunities I get.