IND vs NZ: From neighbours to Team India mates, Venkatesh Iyer shares great journey with Avesh Khan – Watch video

Team India have had stories of friendship over the years. From Sourav Ganguly-Rahul Dravid making their Test debuts together to KL Rahul-Mayank Agarwal opening for India, there are stories aplenty. In India vs New Zealand series, two neighbours-turned friends and roommates made it to the national team together. One of them, Venkatesh Iyer made his India debut made his debut against New Zealand in the 1st T20 in Jaipur on Wednesday.

While Avesh Khan was on India’s radar and even toured England, Venkatesh Iyer shot to fame within just a month. His exploits in the IPL 2021 Phase 2 and Hardik Pandya’s struggle with injury helped him earn an India call-up. But Iyer was happier for his best friend’s selection than his own.

“Avesh broke the news to me. I was in my room he came to me and said that both of us got selected. I was happier for him than for me. I have seen him grow. Not just a cricketer but as a person,” Venkatesh Iyer.

Avesh Khan and Venkatesh Iyer were neighbours and grew up together. From there, the two made it to the Madhya Pradesh state team and became roommates on domestic tournaments. In IPL, they split with Venkatesh Iyer moving to KKR and Avesh Khan moving to Delhi Capitals. Khan also rose to fame quickly while Iyer had to wait for his chances.

“We are neighbours, we play for the same association and we share a good bond. We have been room partners for half a decade now, so I know him in and out and I have seen the struggle Avesh has gone through and the grind he has put in,” he added.

India and New Zealand will be squaring off in a three-match T20I series, beginning Wednesday in Jaipur. This is the first assignment in charge for head coach Dravid and full-time T20I skipper Rohit.

However, Iyer will have not only big shoes to fill but also live up to the expectations. He is seen as a replacement for flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been struggling with injury.

“I have been playing domestic cricket for a while now and not just me but my team progressed and that’s the result I am getting. The dream is not just to play for the country but to make the country win,” said Venkatesh Iyer in a video posted by BCCI.

On the first day of the training, he spoke to Rahul Dravid and watched everyone train. He was happy that everyone in the team made him feel welcome.

“It was not a typical first day. Everyone was welcoming towards the new players and I had a wonderful practice session and I got to learn a lot. I think a huge credit should go to our throwdown specialists. They are playing a big role in grooming our batters,” he added.

Iyer further said he needs to learn a lot from the newly appointed head coach of India, Rahul Dravid and called him a ‘legend’.

“I just want to learn whatever I can from Rahul sir. He being a stalwart, a legend, has a lot to share. It’s just about how we will and we will pick things depending on every situation. I have come with a blank mind,” said Iyer.