“We saw what Phehlukwayo did with the keeper up” - Daryll Cullinan suggests Venkatesh Iyer could do a similar job for India

Venkatesh Iyer walks off after his dismissal in the 1st ODI. Pic: Getty Images
Venkatesh Iyer walks off after his dismissal in the 1st ODI. Pic: Getty Images
Renin Wilben Albert

Former South African batter Daryll Cullinan has suggested that India could use Venkatesh Iyer as a medium pacer in a similar role to what Andile Phehlukwayo does for South Africa.

Phehlukwayo bowled five overs for 26 runs in the first ODI, but significantly got the wickets of Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin. He bowled with the keeper standing up and outfoxed Pant to have him stumped for 16.

In contrast, India did not use Venkatesh Iyer for a single over even though Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen stitched together a huge partnership. Admitting that India perhaps missed a trick by not giving a few overs to the all-rounder, Cullinan said during a discussion on ESPNcricinfo:

“Venkatesh Iyer should bowl. We saw what Phehlukwayo did with the keeper up. Maybe he can offer that sort of variation. If he’s playing, and is untested with the ball as such, he must be given the full opportunity (to prove himself).”
Why pick Venkatesh Iyer as no.6 batsman if he isn’t going to bowl?

A massive debate emerged in Indian cricket after Venkatesh Iyer did not bowl a single ball in the opening ODI against South Africa in Paarl. Critics questioned India’s tactics as he was picked as an all-rounder who batted at no.6. A baffled Sunil Gavaskar told Sports Tak that “only the captain has the answer as to why Venkatesh wasn’t bowled even once”.

The 27-year-old, who was handed his ODI debut in the first match of the series, failed with the bat as well. He was out for just 2 off 7, caught off Lungi Ngidi’s bowling as India crumbled after a good start.

“I think you will see Venkatesh Iyer bowl” - Sanjay Manjrekar

"It's a great opportunity for Venkatesh Iyer in South Africa." - @klrahul11Give us a 🙌 if you #Believe that the all-rounder will be the game-changer for #TeamIndia against 🇿🇦!

Meanwhile, former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar feels the medium pacer will be given a chance to bowl in the second ODI. Sharing his views on the burning question, he explained:

“I think you will see Iyer bowl. A lot will be talked about how a couple of Indian bowlers were very expensive and still he didn’t bowl a single over. So he will definitely be bowling in 2nd one-day international.”

India must win the second ODI on Friday to stay alive in the three-match series. The concluding game of the series will be played in Cape Town on Sunday.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
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