IND v NZ 2021: Gavaskar wants India to groom Venkatesh Iyer, hoping he will get more chances than Shankar or Dube

Venkatesh Iyer | BCCI/IPL

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday (November 10) announced Team India’s 16-member squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against New Zealand.

The one notable inclusion in the squad for the home series was of Venkatesh Iyer, who caught everyone’s attention with his exploits in the second phase of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

Reacting on his selection, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has said that India can look at playing Iyer at No. 6 or No.7 in the T20I set-up and make use of his ability to bowl medium pace.

Gavaskar also hoped that the selectors and team management will give Iyer a longer rope than Vijay Shankar and Shivam Dube.

“Absolutely (Venkatesh Iyer can be groomed). (Bat) Down the order at about No. 6 or No. 7 and with his medium pace and stuff, we are talking about a 4-over spell. If you can do that, you have got another option,” Gavaskar told India Today.

“I think, over the last 3-4 years, we were fixated with just one option that we didn’t deal with someone like Vijay Shankar or Shivam Dube the way we should have but hopefully, with Venkatsh Iyer, he will get more opportunities than these two guys got. That will give us options. Once we have more options, then nobody takes the place in the team for granted,” he added.

Venkatesh Iyer featured in 10 matches during the 2021 edition of IPL, scoring 370 runs at an average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47 with four half-centuries. He was also handy with his medium pace bowling, delivering more than eight overs and claiming three wickets at an economy of 8.11.

Iyer opened the innings for KKR in the majority of IPL 2021 matches. He used to bat at No. 6 before starting to open for Madhya Pradesh in the last domestic season.

The three-match T20I series between India and New Zealand will get underway on November 17 in Jaipur.