Mumbai,Kolkata Knight Riders opener Venkatesh Iyer didn’t lose hope when he was passing through a lean patch in IPL 2022, and instead concentrated on his ‘process’, hoping to make a mark when he got the next opportunity to play for the franchise.
Iyer, who was in sublime form for KKR last season (he scored 370 runs in 10 matches during IPL 2021’s UAE leg), suddenly found himself in the midst of a slump in IPL 2022, forcing head coach Brendon McCullum to drop him after the team’s defeat to Delhi Capitals on April 28.
With just 132 runs in nine matches, the season seemed as good as lost for the 27-year-old, before he was given another opportunity to salvage his season on Monday night against Mumbai Indians.
He scored a 24-ball 43, helping Kolkata get a fast start after being pushed into batting first. Venkatesh made good use of his feet and crease to bring up KKR’s fifty by getting an outer edge running through third man off Kumar Kartikeya Singh and then brought out his slow-sweep to hit a clean six over deep mid-wicket.
Though Kartikeya had the last laugh as a top-edge on slog went to cover-point, Venkatesh had done his job of getting a fast start in powerplay, which yielded 64 runs, making it the best powerplay score of Kolkata and the first time their opening stand went beyond fifty runs, with Ajinkya Rahane getting just nine runs in the first six overs.
Iyer conceded during an interaction with teammate Pat Cummins that he was finally relieved that he had played a decent knock in his team’s victory.
“I just wanted to go out there and enjoy myself. It’s been quite a tough period for me but I’ve been focusing on my process rather than result. I cannot control whatever happens there in the middle… the number of runs scored or the number of wickets taken. (But) I can just control my process and that’s what I’ve been doing. (It) feels happy to contribute to the team’s victory,” said Iyer.
On him trying to imitating Andre Russell’s celebratory jig after the West Indian dismissed Ramandeep Singh, Iyer said, “I was just going with the flow… when you don’t know the move you just stand there and admire what the big man (Russell) is doing.”