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The second half of IPL 2021 has seen some new young Indian cricketers taking it by storm. One of them is Venkatesh Iyer, who made his IPL debut in the clash against RCB in the UAE. His hard-hitting aggressive batting has been the talk of the town and has lifted KKR fortunes this season.

So, who is Venkatesh Iyer? Cricwizz takes a look.

Full name: Venkatesh Rajasekaran Iyer

Date of birth: 25 December 1994

Place of birth: Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Playing style: All-rounder

Domestic team: Madhya Pradesh

Stats: 

 MatchesRunsAverage100s50sWickets
First-Class1054536.33067
List A2484947.162310
T20s3872447.160224

Who encouraged him to play sports?

It was Iyer’s mother who encouraged him to go outdoors and play sports to burn his energy. However, academics took priority, and he enrolled himself for a B. Com degree, and also pursued Chartered Accountancy simultaneously. He cleared his CA intermediate examinations but then took a decision to leave it and undertake MBA in finance to concentrate on cricket as well. He was then the captain of his state’s U-23 team and had already made his limited-overs debut for his senior team.

And then the big decision

Iyer got a job in a multinational company in 2018 and had to relocate for work, but he didn’t take the offer in the hope of a cricketing future. His gamble paid off, and in the same year, he made his Ranji Trophy debut for MP.

The big breakthrough

Iyer made his 2020-21 season count, emerging the highest run-getter in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with 227 runs @ 75.66 in 5 innings. In the subsequent Vijay Hazare Trophy, he smashed 146-ball 198 against Punjab to make scouts sit and take notice of his talent.

The 2021 IPL contract

KKR bought him at his base price of Rs 20 lakh and didn’t offer a game to him until the second leg of IPL 2021 in the UAE.

The big recognition

In his IPL debut, he smashed 41 not out off 21 balls against RCB. His big hitting got him noticed, and he continued his rich form. He has cracked two fifties so far, 53 against Mumbai, and 67 against Punjab Kings to confirm his first performance was no flash in the pan.

"In Venkatesh Iyer, Kolkata have unearthed a player who can be the all-rounder that India is looking for. His bowing is not express, but he gets the yorker right more than not and doesn’t let the batsman slog him. As a batsman, he plays upright, which gets into a great position to play the short ball, and he drives beautifully through the off-side like all left-handers seem to do.”- Sunil Gavaskar

Useful bowler as well

Iyer after taking a wicket - IPL Facebook page

Iyer is also a bankable medium-pacer as well, doing the fifth bowler’s job in a couple of matches. He has taken three wickets in three games he has bowled so far in IPL 2021.

Future prospects

Cricket pundits expect a bidding war for Iyer when the mega IPL auctions happen ahead of next season. “I'm thinking 12-14 crore because this is not a kind of a fluke show,” Sanjay Manjrekar was quoted as saying, after Iyer’s first match against RCB.