Rahul Tripathi and Venkatesh Iyer. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) latest batting sensation Venkatesh Iyer has revealed that being a huge Sourav Ganguly fan, he always aspired to be a part of the franchise. Ganguly, the current BCCI president, was the first captain of KKR in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
26-year-old Venkatesh Iyer has made a stunning start to his IPL career. Opening the batting, he smashed an unbeaten 41 off 27 on debut against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). On Thursday, he hammered 53 off 30 against the Mumbai Indians. Both of those blazing knocks have come in comprehensive KKR wins.
In a discussion with Rahul Tripathi, who himself hammered an unbeaten 74 off 42 balls, Venkatesh Iyer revealed why playing for KKR is so special for him.
“Honesty, KKR was the first franchise I wanted to be part of purely because of Sourav Ganguly. He was the captain initially, so when I got picked for KKR, that was a dream come true moment for me to be honest. I got a very warm welcome on joining KKR,” the Indore-born cricketer told Tripathi in a video uploaded on IPLT20.com.
Opening up about his admiration for Ganguly, the left-hander added that the former captain has unknowingly played a huge role in shaping his career.
“I am huge fan of Dada. He has got millions of fans across the globe and I am one of them. Dada has played a huge role in my batting indirectly. I used to bat right-handed when I was young. But I wanted to replicate Dada exactly – the way he hit sixes, the way he batted and bowled. He has played a huge role, unknowingly, in my life and I am really grateful for that,” the southpaw added.
Apart from Ganguly, Venkatesh Iyer is also a huge fan of South Indian superstar Rajinikanth. Revealing an interesting anecdote, the cricketer said:
“I never miss any of his films. I still remember when I was in Indore, I especially went to Chennai to watch his movie in a local theater. I am such a die-hard fan. My life’s biggest moment will be when I meet Rajinikanth.”
Before his IPL 2021 exploits, Venkatesh Iyer made headlines when he cracked 198 off 146 balls for Madhya Pradesh against Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy earlier this year.
“Was really positive that I was going to get my chance” – Venkatesh Iyer
Picked at the IPL auction for INR 20 lakh, the hard-hitting opener did not get an opportunity to play in the first half of IPL 2021. Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana opened the batting during the India leg.
Venkatesh Iyer told Tripathi that he was extremely confident of getting his opportunity during the UAE leg.
“I was really waiting for my opportunity. I was really positive that I was going to get my chance. Every activity that I did was directed towards how I am going to play in the match. I am happy that the practice I put in is giving me back,” the KKR opener concluded.
Venkatesh Iyer has, so far, featured in 40 T20 games and has 818 runs to his credit at an impressive strike rate of 140.30.