Many times the Indian Premier League has served as just the most perfect platforms for cricketers to speed up their journey and make a case for themselves for a place in the Indian national team. While several current members of the Indian team themselves announced their coming of age with consistent performances in the cash-rich league, a breakthrough season with the Kolkata Knight Riders might just open a national team window for Venkatesh Iyer.
The news comes at the backdrop of another big media report which claims that India all-rounder Hardik Pandya may stay with the national team for the T20 World Cup only as a pure batter as his back has still not recovered completely and may not take the load of being a bowler. Iyer, it is being learned, could be asked to remain with Team India in UAE as a cover for Hardik.
Although one of the biggest strengths of Hardik was his ability to contribute both with the bat and ball, it could be difficult for the Mumbai Indians all-rounder to make a place in the India Playing XI purely as a batter. Not that Hardik has been in great form with the bat either, accumulating 75 runs in five matches with a best of 40 not out. Moreover, the Baroda cricketer did not even bowl a single over.
265 runs in 8 matches for Venkatesh Iyer in IPL 2021
In contrast, Iyer has been a revelation for the Knight Riders in the UAE leg and has been one of the key reasons behind their resurgence in the second half of the competition. The left-handed batter and right arm medium pace bowling option, Iyer scored 265 runs in 8 matches so far and also has 3 wickets to his credit. However, while Hardik is being looked at as a lower middle-order addition, Iyer has contributed at the top of the order for the Eoin Morgan-led franchise.
Some reports also suggest that Hardik Pandya could even be replaced in India's T20 World Cup squad. While he was included in the team announced last month, final changes for teams qualified for Super 12 could apparently be made till October 15. It remains to be seen whether or not the selectors make that big call but for now the 28-year-old is definitely in Team India's plans and Indian fans would be hoping that he could hit top form come the World Cup.