Former India wicket-keeper and a very impressive coach in the domestic cricket Chandrakant Pandit recalls the day when he decided that the Venkatesh Iyer will open the innings for Madhya Pradesh in the last season of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. Until then, Iyer used to come at no. 6 position and even he was not sure about this when he got the chance to open innings but coach Pandit was convinced.
“He was reluctant, but the way he bats, I felt he has something to change the game. I had done a similar move with Yusuf Pathan in a West Zone game. He too had never opened but I made him do that because somewhere that ability gets wasted down the order,” Pandit said. < /p>
Pandit made Venky feel confident by assuring him that he won’t be dropped even if he fails as an opener.“I told Iyer that even if he gets 0 in the next five games, he will still retain his place in the side.” That changed everything for Venkatesh Iyer.
“He has a different bat speed and plays with power. Earlier, his bat used to come a lot higher, from above his head. I told him that in domestic cricket, he won’t face any problem but at a higher level, it will create a problem. So now his bat comes from near waist height,” Pandit added.
4⃣ fours, 3⃣ sixes & 5⃣3⃣ off 3⃣0⃣ balls! ? ?— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) September 23, 2021
Venkatesh Iyer set the stage on fire ? as he notched up his maiden #VIVOIPL half-century. ? ? #MIvKKR @KKRiders
Watch that fantastic knock ? ?https://t.co/flsjW9XXrr
In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Iyer blasted 227 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 149.34. Later in the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, Iyer continued with his form, walloping 198 in 146 balls against Punjab.
That knock got everyone’s attention, soon he was asked to fly to Mumbai for the trials for Kolkata Knight Riders. And he was signed up by the franchise.