A few moments after Venkatesh Iyer displayed his additional utility with the ball against Delhi Capitals earlier in the week, the all-rounder acknowledged his bowling coach, Anand Rajan, during the mid-match interview with the official broadcasters.
Venkatesh has been “more of a friend than ward” for former Madhya Pradesh pacer Rajan.
“Being from the Tamil community in Indore, I have known him since his childhood. And even though many have looked at him as a big-hitting batsman, Venkatesh always considers himself as an all-rounder, so we have been working on his bowling for a long time,” Rajan told Sportstar on Thursday.
After firing with the bat, Venkatesh had to wait for four games since his debut to prove his worth with the ball; due to Andre Russell’s unavailability and Lockie Ferguson’s injury during the Delhi Capitals innings.
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Even after impressing in his two overs, dismissing the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer for his first IPL scalp, Venkatesh had to convince captain Eoin Morgan to trust his ability to deliver at the death.
“He told me that during the Time Out, he told the coach (Brendon McCullum) to let him bowl since Ferguson could no longer bowl. He was told to approach the captain who would take the call, so he walked up to Morgan, who was hesitant but agreed to try him out for another over. Once he did well, Morgan himself threw the ball to him to bowl the crucial 19th over,” said Rajan.
He kept his composure and delivered the yorkers to near-perfection.
The national selection panel feels Venkatesh is a player for the future, but Rajan stresses that he is far from being a finished product as a bowler. “During the last few days, he has been seeking suggestions on how to improve bowling wide yorkers. That’s going to be our agenda once he returns to India after the IPL,” Rajan said, adding a sign-off note. “Also, don’t be surprised if he continues to be as effective in the Ranji Trophy as he has been with the white-ball.”