“Missed Opportunity”: Chopra On How All-Rounder Iyer Could Have Been Used

Indian T20I captain Rohit Sharma in conversation with all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer

India beat New Zealand by 5 wickets in the first T20I in Jaipur on Wednesday as the Rahul Dravid-Rohit Sharma era in the shortest format began with a win. Rohit Sharma decided to field first on winning the toss and the efforts of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin with ball allowed the hosts to restrict the Blackcaps to a par total of 164/6. The match went down to the wire despite India dominating proceedings with the bat. Rishabh Pant took India home with 2 balls to spare. While there were smiles all around after the win, the Indian team management would know that there is a lot of work to do, to prepare this team for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

A lot of former cricketers and experts spoke about the need to experiment as this is the time when India can try new things to prepare for the showpiece event. Batting first has been India’s big worry in this format and the team could look to do that after winning the toss and try and set big targets, which will help the batsmen know the pace at which they need to score.

As far as India’s bowling options are concerned, they bowled just 5 bowlers on Wednesday, despite having all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer in the ranks. Iyer, who opened the batting in the IPL, came out to bat at the number 6 spot in the last over of the chase and hit a crucial boundary before getting out.

Former India Test opener and renowned commentator Aakash Chopra feels India missed a chance by not utilizing Iyer’s bowling skills, despite that fact that the duo of Deepak Chahar and Mohammed Siraj were being taken for runs.

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“If Venkatesh Iyer is getting ready to play at 6 and bowl a few overs, India has missed an opportunity today. He should’ve bowled a couple of overs for sure. With Chahar-Siraj leaking runs, it was worth throwing the ball to him. IMHO,” Chopra wrote on social media platform Koo.

India struggled in the recently concluded T20 World Cup as they did not have a sixth bowling option in the playing XI with Hardik Pandya not fit enough to bowl his full quota of overs. Hardik is not part of this series, after having a below par outing with the bat in the World Cup.

Iyer, who is donning the finisher’s role, has the ability to bowl medium pace and picked up three wickets in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders. Whether Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma choose to bowl him in the upcoming matches is something everyone will be looking forward to.

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