Rohit Sharma "Best Man" For India's T20I Captaincy, Says Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar stated that Venkatesh Iyer can be groomed to bat lower down the order and should get adequate number of chances to play for Team India.

With Team India exiting from the ongoing T20 World Cup, the BCCI on Tuesday announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming T20I home series against New Zealand. The roster saw plenty of changes with Virat Kohli rested, Rohit Sharma named as captain and KL Rahul placed as vice-captain. Three players also received maiden call-ups; namely Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Iyer has received plenty of praise in particular since the announcement with former India captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar also joining the bandwagon. Iyer was in top-form for KKR in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season’s UAE leg. He played in 10 matches, smashing 370 runs and taking three wickets. The 26-year-old’s batting skills were put to test at the opener slot in the batting order and he succeeded with much aplomb.

Many fans also called for Iyer to be included in the India roster for the T20 World Cup but he was ignored. The team management preferred to go with Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who hasn’t been included for the T20I series vs New Zealand.

Speaking to Sports Today, Gavaskar stated that Iyer can also be groomed to bat down the order at No. 6 or No. 7. The legendary cricketer also said that his bowling skills could come handy.

“Absolutely (Venkatesh Iyer can be groomed). (Bat) Down the order at about No. 6 or No. 7 and with his medium pace and stuff, we are talking about a 4-over spell. If you can do that, you have got another option”, he said.

Gavaskar also hopes Iyer doesn’t meet the same fate as Vijay Shankar and Shivam Dube. The duo showed promise on many occasions but never received adequate opportunities to play for India.

“I think, over the last 3-4 years, we were fixated with just one option that we didn’t deal with someone like Vijay Shankar or Shivam Dube the way we should have but hopefully, with Venkatesh Iyer, he will get more opportunities than these two guys got. That will give us options. Once we have more options, then nobody takes the place in the team for granted”, Gavaskar stated.

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