Venkatesh Iyer has spilt beans regarding his comparison with Hardik Pandya, saying he is a ‘huge’ admirer of Hardik and has massive respect for him. Iyer, while speaking to Times of India, further added that the comparison between him and Hardik does not pay heed to him as a cricketer.
Venkatesh Iyer has often been compared with Hardik Pandya for a place in India’s squad for the upcoming edition of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Australia later this year. Iyer was called-up for Team India following the last T20 World Cup and since then, he has been a regular member of the limited-overs squad.
Before Iyer, Hardik was India’s regular starter as the pace-bowling all-rounder; however, the 28-year-old’s injury concerns forced him on the sidelines and eventually out of the international setup. Pandya will make a return in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he will be captaining the Gujarat Titans.
Iyer finally opened up on the comparison with Hardik in a recent interview with Times of India. Iyer said he is a huge admirer of Hardik ‘bhai’ and has huge respect for him. He further mentioned that this comparison does not pay heed to him as a cricketer.
“As a cricketer, I have huge respect for Hardik bhai for what he has done for India. It is unbelievable. I am a huge admirer of Hardik bhai. These comparisons are very natural, but I pay no heed to them,,” Iyer was quoted as saying by TOI.
After Iyer’s recent all-round heroics, India captain Rohit Sharma had heaped praises on him, saying that he wants to groom the 27-year-old for the No. 6 position.
When asked for his thoughts on Rohit’s comments, Iyer said he is flexible and ready to bat at any position for both club and country.
“Yes, absolutely. I am ready for any position and situation. As a professional cricketer, I have always maintained that I need to be very flexible. We have to understand that we are entering a team where there is cut-throat competition and that too for every role and for every player,” he added.
Iyer first grabbed headlines with a stellar second-half of the IPL 2021 for his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). In 10 matches, he scored 370 runs at an astounding average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47, with four half-centuries. He also picked up three wickets in four games he bowled.