In the space of two matches, Venkatesh Iyer has gone from being an anonymous figure to the most in-form batter in the league. The 26-year-old has completely transformed the look of the Kolkata Knight Riders side who look extremely reinvigorated during the second leg.
Iyer became only the fourth batsman in IPL history to register scores of over 40 in his first two IPL innings, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2008. He remained not out on 41 off 27 deliveries in his IPL debut against Royal Challengers Bangalore and took bowlers like Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, and Yuzvendra Chahal to the cleaners.
Against Mumbai Indians, he hammered 53 runs off 30 balls. Iyer’s opening contributions has guided KKR to magnificent victories in the first two matches since the restart.
Talking to Rahul Tripathi, who also hammered a match-winning 74 off 42 bowlers against MI, Venkatesh Iyer revealed that it is because of Sourav Ganguly that he wanted to be a part of Kolkata Knight Riders.
“Honestly, KKR was the first franchise I wanted to be part of purely because of Sourav Ganguly. He was the captain initially, so when I got picked for KKR, that was a dream come true moment for me to be honest. I got a very warm welcome on joining KKR,” he told Tripathi in a video uploaded on IPLT20.com
The southpaw also opened up on how Sourav Ganguly has affected and influenced his career indirectly. Iyer, apparently, used to bat right-handed as a kid but after seeing Dada, he tried to emulate his style and panache.
“I am huge fan of Dada. He has got millions of fans across the globe and I am one of them. Dada has played a huge role in my batting indirectly. I used to bat right-handed when I was young. But I wanted to replicate Dada exactly – the way he hit sixes, the way he batted and bowled. He has played a huge role, unknowingly, in my life and I am really grateful for that,” Iyer added.
Venkatesh Iyer had a successful Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy run earlier this year. Based on his form and his knocks in those tournaments, Kolkata Knight Riders picked him up for INR 20 Lakh in the mini-auction. Although Iyer never got an opportunity to play in the first leg of IPL 2021, he told Tripathi that he was extremely confident of getting minutes sooner rather than later and wanted to make it count.
“I was really waiting for my opportunity. I was really positive that I was going to get my chance. Every activity that I did was directed towards how I am going to play in the match. I am happy that the practice I put in is giving me back,” the KKR opener concluded.