If reports from Times of India are to be believed then the BCCI selectors have set their eyes on finding a long-term replacement for Hardik Pandya and have earmarked Venkatesh Iyer for the job. The Madhya Pradesh batter was named in the Indian team squad for the upcoming New Zealand T20Is recently.
India is slated to host New Zealand for three T20Is, starting on November 17 in Jaipur. While Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested, Hardik Pandya has been dropped from the team. Also, the selectors left out Varun Chakravarthy who was hyped to be the answer to India’s woes against Pakistan and New Zealand but failed to make a dent during the T20 World Cup 2021.
Chakravarthy was also battling knee issues and it was reported that he was given injections to let him play during the warmup games and during the main T20 World Cup tournament. Also, his mystery bowling failed to make any effect in the first two matches in which India lost and as a result was eliminated from the race of semis.
Venkatesh Iyer Groomed To Bat In The Middle-Order, And Long Term Replacement For Hardik Pandya
Many questions were raised when the BCCI selection panel included Hardik Pandya in the Indian T20 World Cup squad. This was due to Pandya not bowling a single ball in the IPL 2021 and only bowling sporadically for the Indian team against England earlier this year and against Sri Lanka in July.
Pandya was troubled by his back issues and had sustained a shoulder injury as well, due to which he didn’t bowl in the IPL 2021. The Times of India reported that selectors learnt a harsh lesson by depending heavily on Hardik the allrounder. Now they feel that Hardik doesn’t warrant a place in the side purely as a batter and the focus is now on grooming batters who can bowl in white-ball cricket.
Hence Venkatesh Iyer earned his maiden call up for the Men in the Blue side, thanks to his bowling abilities shown in IPL 2021 for the KKR side and he even picked 2/2 in 4 overs for Madhya Pradesh against Bihar in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy.