The Indian management wanted to try new players for the two-match T20I series against Ireland. Umran Malik and Deepak Hooda were included in the Playing XI, while a couple of players are still waiting for their chances.
Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, and Venkatesh Iyer weren’t included in the Playing XI against South Africa.
However, cricketer turned analyst Aakash Chopra feels that Venkatesh Iyer sitting out of the match despite an injured Ruturaj Gaikwad in the XI is harsh on the player.
He raised questions about Ruturaj’s availability and said, “The first big question is Ruturaj Gaikwad’s availability. If he doesn’t open the innings, who will do it? I feel you will allow Venkatesh Iyer; if he is not worthy of playing, why have you kept him on the team. You don’t go on a tourist visa.”
Gaikwad didn’t come to bat in the first T20I due to a niggle in his calf. Hardik didn’t reveal at which stage of the game the 25-year-old injured himself. However, it could be possible that he might have had a niggle while fielding.
Nevertheless, Chopra feels Iyer should open the innings if Gaikwad doesn’t play the 2nd T20I. Otherwise, having the KKR talisman in the squad makes no sense.
He further suggested that even if Gaikwad plays, Axar Patel should be dropped to make way for Iyer.
Iyer was included in the national team after his magnificent performance in IPL 2021.
“I am saying you can play him (Venkatesh) instead of Axar Patel. Go for another fast-bowling option,” said Chopra. “Hardik is bowling well anyway, and your bowling will not fall short, considering the lack of depth in the opposition camp regarding batting.”
Batting at number 6, Iyer has played 9 T20Is for India and scored 133 at a strike rate of 162.