Former Kolkata Knight Riders player Rajat Bhatia feels that franchise's all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer could play the role of Hardik Pandya in the national team if the former gets to bowl more frequently. However, Bhatia also stated that giving the player a chance to play for India so early wouldn't be a right choice and that the all-rounder should play and perform consistently in upcoming IPL seasons before getting the national call-up.
It is worth noting that buying Venkatesh Iyer ahead of IPL 2021 proved to be a very good move for Kolkata. After getting picked, Iyer had to warm the benches in the first leg of IPL 2021. Following Nitish Rana's consistent failures while opening the batting, Venkatesh was given a chance to open for the side and he duly grabbed the opportunity with both the hands, courtesy an unbeaten 41 off 27.
Venkatesh didn't look back after that and scored quality runs as an opener for KKR. However, what surprised many was Venkatesh the bowler returning figures of 2/29 in just his fourth game of IPL. Though he didn't get to bowl much after that, he certainly proved his potential with the ball as well.
Venkatesh has potential to become Team India's all-rounder: Rajat Bhatia
Speaking at SportsTiger's show Mid-Wicket Live, Rajat Bhatia said, "Iyer's all-round performance is not clearly visible yet, otherwise he would have gone to T20 World Cup in place of Hardik Pandya, people are also saying so... If Venkatesh bowls frequently, he has the potential."
He said Venkatesh should not be roped in into the national squad so early. "There are many players who have performed in IPL but failed to replicate in the very next edition. So it would be too early if he gets the chance to feature in the national team, so it's better for him to get an entry after performing a bit more," added Bhatia.
It is worth noting that KKR were struggling at the 7th spot in the table mid-season before the second phase of the competition could kick off in UAE and the side could make it to the final of the event.
"Venkatesh Iyer's addition played a huge role (in KKR's success in UAE leg of IPL 2021)," said Bhatia.