Venkatesh Iyer was named in India’s squad for the forthcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa, however, with Hardik Pandya demonstrating his fitness in IPL 2022, Iyer may find himself on the bench for the majority of the series.
While Pandya was sidelined due to injuries, Iyer was one of the players who were tested out as all-rounders in white-ball cricket.
Pandya scored 413 runs and took four wickets in eight innings as captain of the Gujarat Titans (GT) in IPL 2022, in addition to leading the side to a first-place finish in the league stage. Iyer stressed that he did not see Pandya as a competitor, but rather as a teacher.
“Absolutely not. Hardik Pandya is a superstar of the game; it will be an immense opportunity for me to learn so much from him. He has won so many games for our country, and I hope he keeps doing so. I am taking it as a beautiful opportunity to learn and observe him. There is no competition between us, he is way ahead, and I would like to play alongside him,” Iyer told Sports Tiger.
Iyer struggled with the bat this season after a breakout season in 2021 and was even rested from the XI. While his form improved towards the conclusion of the competition, Iyer only managed to score 182 runs in the top order at an average of 16.55 and a strike rate of 107.69.
“I tried my best to perform well, and my process and approach were correct. I don’t have any regret as I did whatever I could do. But, I’ll confess that the results were a bit disappointing as they didn’t come in our favour. But we are hopeful that we will do well in upcoming seasons as we have the right set of players in our squad,” he said.