Venkatesh Iyer was in pretty good form in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with scores of 68*, 57, 42, and 28 to his name before a freak injury cut his domestic season short. He had to undergo surgery after twisting his ankle at the staricase and is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. The Madhya Pradesh all-rounder is not only undergoing a strict rehab at the NCA to return to action as quickly as possible but is also aiming for a return to the Indian side. That is easier said than done and Iyer knows it. He didn’t do anything wrong to lose his spot in the Indian side. In fact, in the limited opportunities he got, he played some good knocks batting in the lower middle order in the home series against the West Indies. But he was always going to be the second choice to Hardik Pandya.
The moment Hardik regained his full fitness, Iyer was dropped from the Indian side. The 27-year-old will be the the first to admit that the Indian team management did the right thing. He still hasn’t reached a stage to challenge Hardik, who has hit a purple patch not with bat and ball but also as a leader.
“Who doesn’t want to have a long run with the Indian team? Even though I wanted that, I clearly understood the way Hardik bhai came back. What he did was really amazing. Every team wants to pick the best team for the World Cup. I would have wanted to be there, but again it’s not in my hands,” Iyer told CricketNext.
The lanky left-hander whose claim to fame was a breakthrough run at the top of the order for Kolkata Knight Riders in the UAE leg of IPL 2021, said his job is to continue to perform without worrying much about the team he is playing for or the tournament he is playing in.
“I have always looked at cricket as an opportunity. If am not playing with the Indian cricket team, it’s my opportunity to play in the IPL or represent my state side in domestic competitions. My job is to only do my process right and not worry about selection. I might have been in the team for the T20s and ODIs going on, but I, unfortunately, sustained an injury. I will ensure that when I get to play, I will give my best and not worry about anything else,” he added.
Iyer said, the Indian team management has been in constant touch with him and have asked him to be ready.
“I was in touch with a lot of players. I knew what I had to do to get back into the team. May it be batting, bowling or fielding – everything. (Being) better never stops. I was told to be ready. And as I told you, our set-up is so good that if not India, then IPL, if not IPL, then domestic competitions, if not them – then the local leagues. That is never going to end. And I feel very lucky to operate that way,” he said.