Captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday gave up and coming all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer a thumbs up for his earnest showing with the ball in India’s 73-run win over New Zealand at Eden Gardens to complete a series sweep. 

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With Hardik Pandya dropped from the series for his inability to bounce back from a back surgery two years ago, rendering him unfit to bowl a full quota of overs, captain Rohit, coach Rahul Dravid and the management will have their eyes open for a replacement.

With the T20 World Cup scheduled for October 2022 Down Under, India will look to quickly fill the vacancy in the fast-bowling all-rounder’s slot. 

Venkatesh Iyer, who bowled for the first time in his career and returned with tidy figures of 3-0-12-1 bowling in the crucial middle overs, gave the Indians much-needed hope to fill that crucial void.

“Good to see Venkatesh Iyer bowling those overs with the skills he has. Important for us going forward. I would prefer that going forward,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation.

After shining bright for Kolkata Knight Riders in the UAE leg of the IPL as an opener, Venkatesh made his India debut in the series where he shone in the middle order. 

“I have always maintained that as a professional cricketer you got to be really flexible as to where you want to bat. There might be occasions where even though you are going to play in the middle order, you might get to bat within the powerplay. That’s something I have really worked on — adapting to whatever situation I am going to play in. I am going to look to better that,” Iyer said after the third T20I.

All this while, Venkatesh’s batting prowess was all we were familiar with and now with his performance in Kolkata on Sunday, he may be tried out a lot more with the ball as well, making him a front-runner for that fast-bowling all-rounder candidate Team India is desperately looking for. 

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