Venkatesh Iyer ‘not setting any targets’ after India call-up

After a consistent show in the IPL and the domestic T20 tournament, the expectations are high but Iyer looks forward to learning from the greats of the game during the home series against New Zealand instead of setting any targets.

FILE PHOTO: For Iyer, the endeavour is to display multiple skills across formats.   -  PTI

From being just another young domestic talent to earning a call-up to the Indian team for the T20Is against New Zealand - life has changed for Venkatesh Iyer over the last couple of months.

And the 26-year-old all-rounder from Indore can only thank the Indian Premier League (IPL) for helping him fulfil his dreams.

After being picked for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL auction earlier this year, Iyer had to warm the bench in the first leg of the tournament. However, when the Knights travelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September for the second leg of the tournament, Iyer opened the innings for the Eoin Morgan-led side and amassed 370 runs and also clinched three wickets banking in on his steady medium pace.

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While his efforts guided Knights to the final of the IPL, Iyer also kept the momentum going with a successful stint in the group stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy - which eventually paved the way for his India call-up.

“It has been a good journey so far. For me, actually the journey is just starting and I'm looking forward to the challenges that await me,” Iyer told Sportstar on Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening as the news of his selection broke out, Iyer was in New Delhi with his Madhya Pradesh teammates.

“All my teammates came to my room to congratulate me and it was really good,” Iyer said.

“I am not thinking too much about my (performances in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy). It is a privilege to play for the country and I want to go out there and enjoy my game.”

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Along with him, his other Madhya Pradesh teammate Avesh Khan has also earned a call-up to the Indian team for the series against New Zealand, which begins on November 17.

As Iyer looks back at the last couple of months, he is happy to have lived his dreams.

“IPL is a great platform for young cricketers. I went there and expressed myself and I was really happy that it paid off. We went into the tournament with a scenario where we were virtually out of the tournament. From there, we went on to play the final. That was a journey that helped me learn a lot personally,” Iyer said.

After the IPL, Iyer was among the net bowlers who were part of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup and that experience, too, helped him immensely.

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“I did have interactions with all the players on how they approach the game. I am not having too many expectations, I love to take things as they come and put my best foot forward. My preparation is good, so I try to build on my confidence and express myself.”

After a consistent show in the IPL and the domestic tournament, the expectations are high. But Iyer is not setting any targets for the home series.

“I have not set any targets. I will go out there and try to enjoy it. I will get to interact with the greats of the game, so I will learn a lot,” he said.

The arrival of Iyer – a 6-foot 4-inch-tall left-handed opening batter – had changed KKR’s fortunes in the IPL and ahead of a big moment in his career, the young gun wants to keep things simple and take one step at a time.

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