Venkatesh Iyer is a huge fan of actor Rajinikanth. He doesn’t miss the experience of watching his superstar on the big screen, even if that means travelling from Indore to Chennai and finding his way among the crowd.
“En vazhi, thani vazhi (My path is a different one)”: These are Rajinikanth’s words from one of his blockbusters from a couple of decades ago. Speaking for IPLt20.com on Thursday, Venkatesh Iyer told his teammate Rahul Tripathi that he can relate well to those words from his ‘biggest inspiration’ ‘Rajini sir’.
Not many would say no to a job offer from one of the Big 4 accounting firms in the country. Having completed an MBA in Finance, Venkatesh got an offer from Deloitte in 2018 but the cricketer turned it down. Venkatesh Iyer wanted to stay in Indore and continue playing for Maharashtra, something he wouldn’t have been able to do had he moved to Bengaluru for the job, according to ESPNCricinfo.
Decision-making not so tough for this MBA graduate
The clarity in decision-making is evident with the way Venkatesh Iyer has gone about his business in his short but impactful Indian Premier League (IPL) career. The 26-year-old Maharashtra all-rounder made his debut for Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this week.
Venkatesh hit a 27-ball 41 not out on his debut against Royal Challengers Bangalore. On Thursday, he took on some of the biggest names in world cricket — Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah and Adam Milne — smashing a 30-ball 53 against defending champions, Mumbai Indians.
In both the knocks, Venkatesh has shown he can be aggressive and assured at the same time. With support from the team management, the uncapped batsman has been able to play fearless cricket, which has left the cricket fraternity in awe.
Venkatesh had to make some tough decisions all through his life. He completed his B. Com, cleared Chartered Accountancy Intermediate exams but he gave up CA aspirations to focus on his cricket career. After letting go off a high-profile job a couple of years later, he continued playing domestic cricket for Maharashtra. Iyer, who made his domestic debut in 2015, earned the reward for sticking to the game as he made his Ranji Trophy debut in December 2018.
I wanted to replicate Sourav Ganguly: Venkatesh Iyer
However, not once did he think twice about aspiring to play for Kolkata Knight Riders. He wanted to wear KKR’s Purple colours right from the time his idol Sourav Ganguly was leading the franchise.
In the interview to Tripathi, Venkatesh Iyer said he decided to bat left-handed and bowl right-handed after watching Sourav Ganguly in action.
“KKR was the first franchise I wanted to get in, purely because Sorav Ganguly was the captain initially. Got picked by KKR, that was a dreamy moment,” Venkatesh said.
“I used to bat right-handed when I was very young. I wanted to replicate Dada, looking at him. The way he hit sixes, the way he bowled, I think he has played a huge role unknowingly in my life.”
Venkatesh Iyer has been making the right noises at the domestic level. In 10 first-class matches, he averages 36.33. The Indore all-rounder averages 47.16 with the bat in 24 List A matches and has scored 2 hundreds as well.
In the T20s, Venkatesh has been striking at over 140. In 40 matches in the shortest format of the game, Venkatesh has 818 runs at an impressive average of close to 40. Venkatesh is a handy medium pacer too, having picked up 21 wickets in T20s so far at an economy rate of less than 7.
A fine run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this season helped him bag a Kolkata Knight Riders contract. Venkatesh was bought at his base price of Rs 20 lakh at the auction.
Having made a grand opening to his IPL career, Venkatesh will be keen on continuing his impressive form. With the ability to adapt to different batting positions and handy bowling skills, the KKR star has certainly enrolled himself in the great assembly line of Indian cricket.