Kolkata Knight Riders will begin their quest for the trophy against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on March 26 after having missed out on their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title last year.
The franchise had retained four players and did a remarkable job in the mega auctions to snap up some match-winners including new skipper Shreyas Iyer, who fetched a colossal ₹12.25 crore at the two-day event. IPL 2022 will kick start from March 26 with Kolkata squaring off with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the tournament opener.
Shreyas Iyer: Venkatesh Iyer Is A Team-Man As He Always Talks About Winning
Kolkata Knight Riders also splurged ₹7.25 crore on Pat Cummins and got seasoned batter Ajinkya Rahane for ₹1 crore. While their middle-order looks solid in Andre Russell’s presence, Venkatesh Iyer looks like a sure shot opener in the impending season.
Venkatesh Iyer, a management professional who turned up for the franchise in the second half of IPL 2021, would be raring to go as the league returns to Indian conditions after its UAE stint. Venkatesh Iyer may have had a successful elevation to the opening slot, but captain Shreyas Iyer was tight-lipped on his batting spot this year.
“We have not yet decided his batting position. We are yet to get out of quarantine and have chats with coaches and management. I had a brief chat with him during our stint for Team India, he’s very flexible in terms whatever position we put him into play,” said Shreyas in a virtual interaction on Saturday.
Venkatesh Iyer notched up two 30-plus scores against the West Indies in the home T20I series. He also rolled his arm over and picked up two wickets in the three-game rubber.
“Obviously he’s done great as an opener last year for KKR, that will be at the back of the mind. He’s a team man. I’ve seen that on the field. He always talks about winning. That’s the type of character we need in our team, one who is ready to go out there and show that relentless,” he further added.
The 27-year-old batting all-rounder impressed in the three-match T20I series in Kolkata against the West Indies. He scored 24*, 33 and 35* at a quick pace, and also chipped in with two wickets in the final T20I. He amassed 92 runs in 3 innings at an outstanding strike rate of 184. Venkatesh Iyer, who opened for KKR last time and is a medium pacer had a sensational run in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 by amassing 370 runs in just 10 games averaging 41.11 with 4 fifties.
Shreyas Iyer Personally Feels No 3 Is His Batting Position But Is Flexible With The Team’s Demands
Shreyas Iyer himself is ready to “explore” his batting position according to the situation. He’s had a phenomenal stint with India in recent months, scoring three consecutive fifties in the T20I assignment against Sri Lanka and claiming the Player-of-the-Series in India’s 3-0 win.
He aggregated 204 runs without being dismissed across three innings against Sri Lanka in T20Is at a highly impressive strike rate of 174.36. He registered scores of 57*(28), 74*(44) and 73*(45) across three games. He batted at No. 3 in all the 3 T20Is in the absence of Virat Kohli, turning in a Player-of-the-Series winning performance.
“For me personally, I feel No. 3 is my batting position because that’s the position I love to bat and have been batting for very long. But I’m flexible whatever the team requires, I’m very comfortable with that. Come what may, I’m ready to explore.”
Apart from Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer, KKR also have Sunil Narine when it comes to adding a bit of spark to their batting attack. The power-hitting cricketer from West Indies remains to be a vital cog in KKR’s scheme of things. They have also got Australia’s Aaron Finch at the top with Sam Billings as Kolkata’s first-choice wicketkeeper after being picked up for ₹2 crore.