India’s T20I captain Rohit Sharma reckons Venkatesh Iyer’s bowling will be important for the team going forward. Iyer, who is still young in his International career, has shown the promise to deliver the goods as a sixth bowling option.
The right-arm medium pacer had scalped three wickets in four innings for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2021 and conceded his runs at an economy of 8.11.
In fact, Rohit surprisingly didn’t give the ball to Iyer in the first two T20I matches against New Zealand. Iyer was finally handed over the ball in the final T20I at Kolkata on Sunday and he was able to grab his opportunity as he accounted for Adam Milne and conceded 12 runs in three overs he bowled.
Furthermore, Iyer scored a little cameo of 20 runs off just 15 balls with the help of one four and one six. Rohit added that Iyer is a bright prospect for the team and it is crucial to groom him at the top level.
“The plan is to keep him in the mix as much as we can,” said Rohit after India’s 3-0 win in Kolkata on Sunday (November 22). “At the same time, we need to give him a role of where to bat. He doesn’t usually bat in this role; for his franchise, he bats up the order and it’s going to be tough for him to bat up the order so we’ve given him a role to bat at probably 5, 6,7 in the lower-middle order. See he can do the job for us.
“Today he looked quite composed for whatever time he was in there. He was clear in his mindset and had a good approach for whatever he wanted to do. You saw his bowling skills. He looks a very bright prospect for us. Clearly, he’s got the skills. In terms of his bowling skills as well he can get the job done for us. It’s about giving him that confidence, making him play as much as he can and seeing if he can deliver for us. It’s still early days. He’s played only three games and has not much of an opportunity to make an impact. But going forward we’ll definitely keep an eye on him.
The opening southpaw batter hogged the limelight as he scored 370 runs in 10 IPL 2021 matches at an impressive average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47 and thus played an instrumental role in taking KKR to the final of the tournament.
Rohit added that if all the five bowlers can do the job for the team then they won’t require the sixth or seventh bowling option but it is always nice to have a cushion of an extra bowler.
“When you play matches as a team, you have to try a lot of things and look for a lot of options. Indian team is also exploring different combinations, different types of options. Among our top five batsmen right now, only Surya and Shreyas can bowl a bit but they are not regular bowlers. They haven’t bowled regularly. But see, however much depth we have is good for us. For now, our bowling, if you keep bowling the way we have, we don’t need the sixth and seventh bowling options. If your five bowlers do the job then you don’t need other options. But for a captain, it’s a nice cushion if you have the sixth and seventh option.”
The first Test match between India and New Zealand will be played in Kanpur from November 25.