India head coach Rahul Dravid on Monday heaped praise on youngster Venkatesh
, following his impressive all-round show in the three-match series against
West Indies in Kolkata.

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Venkatesh Iyer,
27, made his international debut in the New Zealand home series last November.
He had failed to make an impact in his first series but the youngster made a
comeback in the T20I series against West Indies, accumulating 92 runs in three
innings at a strike rate of 184 and also picked two crucial wickets in two
innings in the series.

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Venkatesh Iyer’s progress in the T20I cricket, Dravid said that he had seen
his potential in the New Zealand series itself before throwing him a challenge
of batting in the middle order given that the top three is packed. The former
India captain was impressed with the manner in which he dealt with the
challenge, showing some improved performances in the series.

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has a really good series for us. After he played the three T20s against New
Zealand, you could sort of see his potential,” Dravid said in the
post-match press conference.

“We kind of gave him the clarity on the kind
of role we have for him. I know he plays a slightly different role for his IPL
franchise, but we were very clear with him as to what kind of role we see him
filling in seeing our situation because in our top three there isn’t a spot.
Guys are established and we have guys who have performed in the top three. So
we challenged him and gave him the role to be able to bat in that position.
Every time he has come back from a break, he has improved, gotten better and
his performances are better and that’s pleasing, that’s what you want to see,” added Dravid.

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all-rounder Hardik Pandya is yet to fully recover from his back issues, which
kept him out of the team since November last year, Venkatesh has the
opportunity to make the most of the former’s absence.  Venkatesh is proving his worth with his
power-hitting skills that have added to the strength of India’s middle-order
which also has the presence of Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant.