Paarl, Stand-in skipper KL Rahul on Tuesday said Venkatesh Iyer is an exciting prospect for Team India and the fast-bowling all-rounders like him are always an asset and give the much-needed team balance to the side.
Venkatesh revived the Kolkata Knight Riders' fortunes with his batting in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 but all those runs came while opening the innings. To prove his credentials as a finisher in ODIs, he batted in the middle order in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season and performed well.
In six games, the youngsters scored 379 runs - including two hundreds and a fifty - at an average of 63.16 and a strike rate of 133.92. With the ball, he picked up nine wickets at an economy rate of 5.75. But more importantly, apart from one game where he didn't bowl, he almost always finished his quota of ten overs.
With Hardik Pandya not in the side, Venkatesh is all set to play and he will have a chance to present his case as an allrounder.
"Yes, Venkatesh Iyer has been very exciting since he has played for KKR and done really well there and he joined us for the T20I series against New Zealand. He did really well there, fast-bowling all-rounders are always an asset. We are always looking for fast-bowling all-rounders. They balance the team out really well. He has looked good in the nets and it is a great opportunity for him to do well in South Africa," said Rahul in a pre-match virtual press conference.
Asked whether playing conditions in Paarl will assist spinners, Rahul said the pitch might offer a lot more for the spinners than what it did in the test series
"We have practised for a couple of days at Boland Park and the pitch does look like it might offer a lot more for the spinners than what we saw in the test series," the opener said.
"We have quality spinners. Ashwin is coming back into the one-day team and we all know what quality he brings. And Chahal has been a great performer for us for a number of years. If there is any help from the pitch, I know these two can exploit it. So they become really important for us," he added.