IPL 2021: Venkatesh Iyer has been the find of the season for KKR.© BCCI/IPL
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were seventh on the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 points table after the first half of the tournament. The Kolkata-based franchise found their mojo in the UAE as they registered two back-to-back big wins to move up on the points table and keep their hopes of making it to the playoffs alive. One of the keys to this turnaround was their new opening batter Venkatesh Iyer, who has not only provided good starts but also chipped in with the ball in middle overs. Impressed with Venkatesh Iyer’s all-round show, former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar feels the KKR youngster could fetch a “very high price” in the upcoming IPL auction.
“I’m thinking 12-14 crores because this is not a kind of a fluke show. I was looking at his First-Class numbers and his List A record is outstanding. His average is 47, strikes at 92 (98). Then is his T20 record in domestic cricket, not counting the IPL. His strike rate is high, he averages 37 (38.20). So this is a guy who knows how to bat. Plus, he is a bowler, and in the last match, he has shown that he can bowl the tough overs too. So he is somebody who is going to fetch a very high price,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
The 26-year-old batter from Madhya Pradesh made his IPL debut in the second half of the 2021 season and has scored over 200 runs in six matches. Venkatesh Iyer has also picked up three wickets at an economy rate of under nine per over.
Manjrekar said Venkatesh Iyer looks like a “really qualified game-changer”.
“Today, I focussed on the way he bats. Very interestingly, he bats a lot on the backfoot. Looks to pull, play the cut. So this is a batter who is not going down the pitch and trying to hit – forcing everything. He is staying on backfoot, cutting and pulling and then he’s got a big stride forward. I see him more as a really qualified T20 game-changer than somebody having a couple of good weeks,” Manjrekar added.
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