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“I play for my team”- Venkatesh Iyer speaks about competition with Hardik Pandya for a spot in India squad

Venkatesh Iyer

New Indian all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer had a dream year in 2021. He made his IPL debut and within a few months, he became a member of the Indian T20I team. Now, ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League series between the Indian cricket team and the South African cricket team, the BCCI have named Venkatesh in the ODI squad of India. It is pertinent to note that Iyer is a pace-bowling all-rounder just like Baroda’s Hardik Pandya.

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Not long ago, Hardik was the number one all-rounder in the Indian squads in all three formats. Many fans even compared him with the 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev because of his all-round brilliance. However, his back issues have derailed the career of Hardik. He is no longer the player he once was. He has struggled with the bat and has been unable to bowl.

According to reports, Hardik Pandya has asked for some time off from cricket, and he is currently working hard on his fitness as well as bowling. The Baroda all-rounder has seemingly been replaced by Venkatesh Iyer in the team, because Iyer, who batted as an opener for Kolkata Knight Riders, played in the middle-order for India in his debut T20I series. Also, he batted in the middle-order for Madhya Pradesh in the 2021/22 domestic season.

Venkatesh Iyer plays down talks of competing with Hardik Pandya

In a recent interview with Times of India, Venkatesh Iyer was asked how he feels about competing with someone like Hardik Pandya for a spot in the Indian squads. Here’s what the Madhya Pradesh all-rounder replied:

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 “I don’t play for (any kind of) competition (with other players), I play for my team. I am playing because I have got the opportunity from the selectors and my captain. I am an all-rounder and have to think like an all-rounder, not a batsman or a bowler. It’s a dual responsibility.”