Admitting that the second-season syndrome has hit Venkatesh Iyer badly, Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum has not written off the all-rounder for the remaining Indian Premier League season.

“With Venky's second year, teams do a bit more scouting and homework as has historically been the case in this tournament as well as in international cricket,” McCullum said on Sunday night, after the Knight Riders was bowled out for its lowest total of the season en route to a defeat against Lucknow Super Giants that virtually ended its chances of making it to the Playoffs.

Riding on his second-half exploits in IPL 2021 that led to the Knight Riders storming into the final, Venkatesh was one of the four cricketers retained by KKR ahead of the big auction.

However, with a meagre tally of 132 runs from nine games, the allrounder has been benched for the last two games.

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McCullum stressed Venkatesh will continue to be in the mix for KKR’s last three games.

“It is frustrating for him and he is working hard in the nets and trying to get his spot back and that will certainly be a consideration,” McCullum said.

“In a short tournament, you have got to be prepared to use some other guys in the squad and that’s what we had to unfortunately do with Venkatesh but he is certainly not out of the reckoning in the games to come. He is a real talent and has a good head on his shoulders. I know he is determined to take that next step and start to perform more regularly.”