venkatesh iyer: IPL 2021: Meet Venkatesh Iyer – the new KKR batting sensation who has an MBA degree and is a Rajinikanth fan | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Iyer family had doctors, engineers and teachers, but there was no one who pursued a career in sports. Venkatesh Iyer, the new batting sensation of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the ongoing Indian Premier League edition however was adamant about becoming a cricketer.
His father Rajasekaran Iyer was also against this step. But after seeing her son’s dedication towards the game, his mother Usha Iyer, a head nurse at Apollo Hospital in Indore, took his son to the Maharaja Yeshwantrao Cricket Club in Indore and met coach Dinesh Sharma.
Dinesh heard the family story from the mother and asked Venkatesh to pad up and hit the nets. Dinesh grabbed a sidearm ball thrower and threw some deliveries at the youngster. He played those with ease. The coach then asked some of his best bowlers in the academy to bowl at Venkatesh and the youngster’s performance impressed the coach.
The coach was a happy man. He convinced his mother to hand over the kid to him for two years and then take a decision on his cricketing career after that.

Image credit: Venkatesh Iyer’s FB page
“He is a natural talent. He has brilliant hand-eye coordination. That’s his weapon. The way he was hitting the ball, it was amazing. I immediately knew this guy is keen to learn and needs someone who can show him the way,” Dinesh Sharma told in an exclusive interview.
“I asked him if he is serious about playing cricket. He said – ‘coach, I will do everything to be a good cricketer and I won’t disappoint you,” the coach further recalled.
Born in a Tamil-speaking family in Indore, education was a must for the aspiring cricketer. He holds an MBA degree in Finance. He was told by his family not to compromise with his studies.
“He (Venkatesh) was very intelligent. Every single member of his family is educated and has acquired higher education. He wanted to play cricket and didn’t want to disappoint his father. So, he managed both. And, he did that quite well,” Dinesh Sharma further told

Image credit: Venkatesh Iyer’s FB page
“He is mad about Rajinikanth. He has watched all his movies. Sometimes, he used to copy him (Rajinikanth) as well,” the coach said, while laughing at those memories.
Venkatesh was a lower-middle-order batsman, but had a hard-hitting batting style. Ahead of a local tournament in Indore, Dinesh spoke to Venkatesh and told him to be prepared to open the innings in the five-match limited overs tournament.
“He was nervous when I told him. I just said bat the way you bat in the lower order. He scored a century and a 98 and played one match-winning fifty run knock also as an opener in the tournament. I was confident that he would do well, but never expected such a show from him. Since then, he became our regular opener. I call him the modern-day Yuvraj Singh,” the coach said.

Image credit: BCCI/IPL
A similar story played out at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last season, when coach Chandrakant Pandit asked Iyer, who was batting at number 6 till then for the state, to open the innings.
KKR’s decision to change their opening combination and give Iyer a go with Shubman Gill has produced rich results so far for the two time champions. In the two matches that the 26 year old has played, he has scores of 41 and 53.
Venkatesh was on the KKR bench for a while after being signed by the franchise. But he was poised to make his debut in KKR’s last match in India, before the league was postponed due to COVID-19. But ahead of KKR’s first match of phase 2 of IPL 2021 against RCB, Venkatesh called his coach and informed him that he will be given his IPL debut cap.
According to coach Dinesh Sharma, Venkatesh has been backed a lot by India veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh and KKR Head coach Brendon McCullum.

Virat Kohli and Venkatesh Iyer (Image credit: BCCI/IPL)
“He was so so happy. The man who supports him a lot is Harbhajan Singh. He has got a lot of support from him. Harbhajan backed him a lot and he got the debut cap. McCullum too likes him a lot,” Dinesh told
“When Venkatesh scored 41 runs on debut (vs RCB), Harbhajan hugged him, praised him and introduced him to Virat. Harbhajan went to Virat and told him about Venkatesh and asked him if he can spare some time for Venkatesh. Virat then gave Venkatesh some tips. Harbhajan wanted Venkatesh to speak with Virat and take some tips and guidance,” the coach said.
“When Venkatesh talked to Virat, he asked about pressure, how to play long innings, consistency, and how to handle things in crunch situations. Venkatesh called and told me about the entire conversation and he was so happy after speaking with the legend,” the coach signed off.

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