sports desk15 minutes agoAuthor: Krishna Kumar Pandey
When the Young Brigade of Team India is mentioned, a name is taken with great enthusiasm. Venkatesh Iyer. The T20 World Cup is in front and before this the series of the same format with the South African team. Venkatesh is busy in preparations. Now Hardik Pandya is also a part of the team. Venkatesh and Hardik are almost the same type of all-rounder. When the captain has two great options, then obviously the issue of selection will arise. However, Dainik Bhaskar spoke to Venkatesh in detail about the South Africa series, T20 World Cup and future. Read the exclusive interview of this all-rounder here.
Venkatesh Iyer with his family.
Question: What is the game plan for the South Africa series?
Venkatesh: Whatever role I get, I will try to fulfill it. Glad that I will get a chance to play for the country once again. This series is very important before the T20 World Cup. For me as well as for the team. South Africa is a world class team. If you win it, then your confidence will increase. We are preparing for the World Cup. This series is also a part of that. As far as I am concerned, I will try to do the best I can for the team.
Question: What will you say about the South African pacers? Do Pace and Bounce Matter for You?
Venkatesh: Yes, skillful pace absolutely does matter. They have top class bowlers like Rabada and Norkia. Playing them will be challenging and fun. I always enjoy playing pace.
Question: The photo of Rajni sir (Rajinikanth) in DP is there for a long time. Is the bat in it now?
Venkatesh: I am his big fan. This pick has been on since then. I did not change this DP since 18 months, because it was never needed. Rajni sir is my all time favourite, but haven’t met her yet. Meeting him is a dream, I don’t know when it will come true.
Team India has once again expressed confidence in Venkatesh in the T20 series against South Africa.
Question: Hardik is making a comeback. You are told their alternative. Has the challenge risen now?
Venkatesh: I see it as an advantage for the team, not as a personal one. If he is beneficial to the team then I would absolutely love it. After all we all want India team to win the World Cup.
Question: Can Hardik-Venkatesh be called middle order double battery in World Cup, both all-rounders are same?
Venkatesh: Yes, of course. I am his fan. The comeback he has made is commendable. If we both stay, then the batting will get depth, the bowling options will increase with the captain. Each team gets a pushup if its two batsmen can bowl as well.
Venkatesh Iyer’s IPL 2022 was nothing special. His team also did not reach the playoffs.
Question: Has appeared in many roles in IPL before. Top order, finisher and batting all-rounder. In what role will you be seen on this tour?
Venkatesh: It will be the decision of the team management. I have been told my responsibility. I have already started preparing for it. I will try to fulfill it when I get a chance. As far as the batting order is concerned, you will see that in the match itself. I don’t have any favorite orders. Be it batting or bowling. But yes, I am inclined towards opening a bit.
Question: Brendon McCullum has been your coach in IPL. He himself has been an aggressive opener, what did he learn from him?
Venkatesh: A new ball has to be played in the opening. Bounce, speed and swing are all three. The pitch is also fresh. In such a situation, you have a challenge to adapt to the condition very soon. Power play advantage is available. We can seize the opportunity. As for Brandon, he always says to be aggressive at all costs. In T20, there is a need to be extra aggressive. If you are trapped in any situation, then always aggressive way-out should be adopted.
Venkatesh made his ODI debut for Team India on 19 January 2022 against South Africa.
Question: But when you hit, the risk of getting out also increases…?
Venkatesh: T20 is a game of risk-return, the bigger the risk. There will be chances of getting such big returns. Every batsman has to be out. I always think about what I can do for the team before getting out.
Question: Always approach big shots. What is the secret of such big sixes? How do you prepare?
Venkatesh: It depends on the technique. The batting coach is working with me continuously. Range hitting practice. This is part of the batting, which has become essential in modern day cricket. I opened for KKR for two years in IPL. Once with Shubman Gill and second time with Ajinkya Rahane. Both are technically sound. Even in Indore, when I do a nets session, I end it with range hitting, so that I have the confidence to hit sixes.
Venkatesh played his first T20 match against New Zealand on 17 November 2021.
Question: You have faced many pacers in IPL, who got the most fun?
Venkatesh: I really enjoy playing fast bowlers. Especially Avesh Khan. He is from my city, we are also good friends. Been playing for the same team for a long time. There is a different competition between us in the field. Know each other very well and also challenge each other during the match. That’s a good challenge.
Question: Who is your favorite bowler?
Venkatesh: Josh Hazlewood of Australia. I like to play him because he bowls skillfully and gets pace.