After seeing Venkatesh Iyer’s all-round show in the just-concluded T20I series against West Indies, former India opener Wasim Jaffer said that the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) all-rounder is ahead of Hardik Pandya for the T20 World Cup consideration at this moment.
Iyer played a crucial unbeaten knock of 35 off 19 balls in the third and final T20I against West Indies at the Eden Gardens. The 27-year-old finished the series as the fourth-highest run-getter with 92 runs from three matches and took two wickets as well.
“After this series, I feel Iyer is a little bit ahead because you don’t know Hardik Pandya whether he’s bowling now or how fit he is. Obviously how the IPL goes for Hardik Panya will play a very key role but at this point of time, Venkatesh Iyer is ahead of Hardik Pandya,” Jaffer said on ESPNcricinfo.
“I am surprised with how good he’s playing as a No. 6 batter. We have seen him as an opener but for him to come out and get adapted so well at No. 6 and finish games is outstanding. Plus, the way he’s bowled as well, got a couple of important wickets. He definitely gives [India] an edge going into the World Cup,” Jaffer said.
India head coach Rahul Dravid too was pleased w’th Iyer’s performance in this series.
“I know he (Iyer) plays a different role (opener) for his IPL franchise but we’re very clear with what is the kind of role that we see him filling in our situation Obviously, our top three isn’t really a spot, because these guys have established and have been performing very well in the top three,” Dravid said after the third T20I win on Sunday.
“So we challenged him, we gave him the role to be able to bat in that position. Every time he’s improved, he’s gotten better. That’s really pleasing,” he added.