Ben Cutting and Daniel Vettori answered some burning questions ahead of Monday's clash between the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Mumbai. Despite Venkatesh Iyer's poor form in IPL 2022, Vettori backed the Knight Riders to continue with him.
Iyer, who had a memorable 2021 season, has struggled to contribute with the bat in the ongoing edition. The southpaw has managed only 132 runs in nine matches, averaging 16.50 with only one fifty. With the ball, the 27-year-old has bowled only three overs and taken no wickets.
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Vettori thinks the two-champions should persist with him as he is a retained player and a long-term prospect. He said:
"No, I think they have to persevere with him. He is part of their three-year plan and a retained player. Just expect him at his best and help him get to that position."
Former Australian all-rounder Ben Cutting conceded that Iyer's presence balances the side and urged KKR to use him as a genuine all-rounder. Stating that the all-rounder lends an edge to the side, the 35-year-old said:
"I think I will still keep him in the side as he creates great balance. They should try and get a few more overs out of him. I don't mind if they want to try and slide him down the order now and use him as a genuine all-rounder because that's what he is. When you play someone as a genuine all-rounder, they get an opportunity to bat and bowl. They can impact the game twice rather than once like he's trying to do with the bat."
Iyer played a significant role in KKR's revival in the second phase of IPL 2021 in the UAE, scoring 370 runs in 10 innings. That performance also earned him a T20I debut for India in November against New Zealand and his first ODI cap in January 2022 against South Africa.
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Daniel Vettori wants Pat Cummins to return to KKR's playing XI
Vettori batted for Pat Cummins' inclusion in KKR's bowling attack as it will strengthen them further. Vettori said:
"I'd like to see him and Southee's combination. Two of the best international white-ball bowlers, coupled with Umesh Yadav, who is bowling so well and Narine, Andre Russell as well - I think that's the starting point of an exceptional bowling attack."
Cutting said he is baffled by Cummins' exclusion and thinks he deserves to get into any playing XI if available. He said:
"Without a doubt, he should. I don't know why he is left out, whether he's got a niggle or been unwell. So, I'm not sure what the issue is, but he should be in every eleven he is available for."
KKR bought back Cummins in the IPL 2022 mega auction for ₹ 7.25 crores. The 28-year-old displayed fireworks with the bat against the Mumbai Indians, scoring the fastest half-century in IPL history in 14 balls. However, he averages 47.50 in four matches with only four wickets with the ball.