Having blasted a scintillating 104 in his “comeback” IPL following a long injury lay-off, Kolkata Knight Riders batter Venkatesh Iyer on Sunday dedicated his maiden century to assistant coach Abhishek Nayar. The 28-year-old from Indore was in good form during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in October last year before he tripped off a staircase and twisted his ankle, the injury cutting his domestic season short. He underwent a surgery and then spent many months at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru to get back to his full fitness.
“IPL is a comeback tournament. I broke my left ankle six months back – the subtalar joint had come out – and it was a freakish accident. But I am fortunate to be under a system where the BCCI takes care of me,” he told the media after the match.
“Everything was taken care of and I was at the NCA for four to five months. All the doctors and trainers were very cooperative and they helped me come out of this space.
“A lot of doctors told me that I would not be able to run as fast as I normally would. I would feel disappointed but I am happy that I am back on the field and doing what I love the most and contributing to the team.” On Sunday, Iyer smacked nine sixes and six fours during his 51- ball knock but his effort was not enough as Mumbai Indians recorded a five-wicket win chasing 186 here at the Wankhede Stadium.
“One name worth mentioning here is Abhishek Nayar. He has worked with my batting day in and day out and not just batting, also my approach towards the game. I credit this century to him.
“As far as Chandu sir goes, I have been working with him for three years and I am happy that his tactics are now at an international level,” he said.
Iyer, who donned the Orange Cap on Sunday, said it was important for him to ease into the role of new No 3 given that KKR are without their regular skipper Shreyas Iyer.
“Shreyas is not in the team, he is injured and someone had to take up the role of No 3 which is an important role. I have maintained that I want to be flexible as a cricketer.
“When he (coach) told me that I have to bat at No 3, the intent did not change; you have to go after the bowling in the powerplay and once I analyse that the ball is not swinging, I take my chances and get the team off to a flier.
“The tactics are defined then and there, this is a red soil pitch so I had to play much squarer and not straighter,” he said.
Iyer said KKR were outbatted by MI, for whom Ishan Kishan scored 58 and Suryakumar Yadav hit 43.
“The way MI hit the ball I felt the wicket got better but you have to give the credit where it is due. They batted really well and the most important aspect was the start that they got.
“In hindsight we can talk about scoring 15-20 runs less and the wicket getting better but they outbatted us,” he said.
Iyer said he would go for scans after copping a blow off a Cameron Green delivery while batting but hoped to be fine.
MI’s Tim David said the team was happy with Suryakumar striking form with the bat.
“It was awesome to have two (wins) in a row. We have some momentum for our team now. He had the same look in his eye since I have known him.
“Like I said, we are just waiting for him to put in his performances and it was awesome to see the ball coming out of the middle of his bat, (he hit) some big sixes and we enjoyed it.” David praised Iyer for scoring his maiden ton.
“He played a great innings. He started so quickly and any time a player gets a hundred it is pretty special. For him to play that way I am sure he feels really good about it. But for us to overcome a century and win the game was really pleasing,” he said.
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