Madhya Pradesh and India all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer said that he understood why he was dropped from the Indian team after ace all-rounder Hardik Pandya came back regaining full fitness.
Hardik was out of contention for a few months as he worked on getting to full fitness after the 2021 T20 World Cup, in which he played as a batter as his back issues stopped him from bowling even 1-2 overs for the team.
During this period, India tried out multiple players to compensate for Hardik Pandya and find his backup and one of them was Venkatesh Iyer, who impressed one and all with his brilliant hitting prowess for Kolkata Knight Riders in the second half of IPL 2021 in UAE and then for MP in domestic cricket.
Venkatesh Iyer was in pretty good form in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with scores of 68*, 57, 42, and 28, before he twisted his ankle badly and had to undergo surgery. He is currently at the NCA rehabbing for his injury.
In the limited opportunities he got, Iyer did well for India in 2 ODIs and 9 T20Is; however, he remained a second choice to Hardik Pandya. And when Pandya made his triumphant return in IPL 2022, all fit and able to bowl 4 overs in T20Is, Iyer was out of the scheme of things.
"Who doesn’t want to have a long run with the Indian team? Even though I wanted that, I clearly understood the way Hardik bhai came back. What he did was really amazing. Every team wants to pick the best team for the World Cup. I would have wanted to be there, but again it’s not in my hands," Iyer told CricketNext.
"I have always looked at cricket as an opportunity. If am not playing with the Indian cricket team, it’s my opportunity to play in the IPL or represent my state side in domestic competitions. My job is to only do my process right and not worry about selection. I might have been in the team for the T20s and ODIs going on, but I, unfortunately, sustained an injury. I will ensure that when I get to play, I will give my best and not worry about anything else," he added.
Iyer said, the Indian team management has been in constant touch with him and has asked him to be ready.
"I was in touch with a lot of players. I knew what I had to do to get back into the team. May it be batting, bowling or fielding - everything. (Being) better never stops. I was told to be ready. And as I told you, our set-up is so good that if not India, then IPL, if not IPL, then domestic competitions, if not them - then the local leagues. That is never going to end. And I feel very lucky to operate that way," he said.
Iyer was retained by his IPL franchise, KKR ahead of the IPL 2023 auction.