Venkatesh Iyer says competition for spots on Team India intense

Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer said that competition for spots on the Indian team is intense at all levels of cricket in India, including domestic, IPL, and international, because spots are scarce and the talent pool is vast.

The 27-year-old is no longer a member of the Indian national team and last played in a T20I against Sri Lanka in February 2022 in Dharamshala.

Venkatesh Iyer drew attention for his destructive innings for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season and led KKR to the final.

His performance earned him a call-up to the national teams, however, he has yet to have a major impact on white-ball teams.

He only played two One-Day Internationals (ODI) with a score of 24 runs and nine T20I with a score of 133 runs.

The bowling all-rounder struggled in the IPL 2022 season as well, scoring only 182 runs and taking no wickets in 12 games.

Venkatesh was dropped from the Indian team. He did not travel to England, the West Indies, or even Zimbabwe.

Competing in domestic competitions such as the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, or Ranji Trophy, according to Venkatesh Iyer, has become difficult.

He believes that whether he is playing for his state, his IPL team, or Team India, it is all about adapting to the situation.

He also stressed that each level and format are simply extensions of the fundamentals learned since playing youth cricket.

Venkatesh Iyer told Sportskeeda exclusively, "Due to the amount of competition, the pressure is the same across all levels [domestic, IPL, and international].”

“The time that you take to adapt to the pressure of each level is probably different. But I consider all levels the same and you just have to go out and execute the skills that you have been working on for the past 10-15 years.”

Venkatesh Iyer is candid about his chances of rejoining the Indian team, and he is not optimistic.

“See, I believe that in cricket, you adapt or you perish,” he said.

“The opportunities are limited and the talent is so much so it is great to be a part of the huge pool of talent. So you need to adapt to fit into the scenario or else you will be pushed behind the line."

"So I always look to contribute to the team in any way possible, whether it’s opening, batting in the middle-order or bowling a couple of overs.”

Hardik Pandya’s return

Venkatesh had proven his adaptability and generated impressive numbers in domestic cricket. He must, however, do more to become a regular member of the Indian national team.

In contrast to Venkatesh, Hardik Pandya, India's star all-rounder, made an impressive comeback to the Indian team after missing a significant amount of cricket due to a back injury.

His return to the Indian team has been one of the most inspiring stories of the year. Pandya took everyone by surprise. He led Gujarat Titans to their first title on his debut as captain.

In an interview, Hardik was asked if he believed he has become the ultimate all-rounder for Team India with the question “ "Have you become Hardik Pandya of India?"

He answered “You can tell that, sir. I don’t know. My name is already Hardik so I don’t need to become one,”

Venkatesh may look to Hardik for inspiration as he hopes to make the Men in Blue A squad that will face New Zealand next month.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.