Hardik Pandya, VVS Laxman Photograph:( AFP )
Laxman has welcomed decision to give chance to players, who have performed well in the Indian Premier League (IPL)
For India's upcoming three-match Twenty20 series at home against New Zealand, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has made a number of changes to the squad that featured in the T20 World Cup 2021. Virat Kohli has been rested along with pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel have been added to the squad while dropping all-rounder Hardik Pandya, whose performance during the T20 World Cup remained a matter of discussion, not just performance, his selection altogether as his bowling was limited due to injury.
Meanwhile, former Indian batter VVS Laxman has welcomed decision to give chance to players, who have performed well in the Indian Premier League (IPL). "I think they have rewarded the players who have done well in the IPL, which is the way forward keeping in mind that the World Cup is going to happen in Australia in one year's time," Laxman said on Star Sports.
"I think it is an excellent squad, not only in the batting department but also in the fast-bowling unit as well. There is Harshal Patel who is excellent in the death overs… there is Avesh Khan who has got express pace," he added.
Giving special mention to Venkatesh Iyer, Laxman said that he can be a backup for Hardik Pandya and can play at fifth and sixth position. The former cricketer also suggested that Iyer can be developed as a utility all-rounder. The 26-year-old Iyer has scored opened for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), scoring 370 runs from 10 matches.
"I just want someone like Venkatesh Iyer to bat out of his position. India have got five openers in that squad and you know that Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are your front-runners for that spot," added Laxman.
"So Venkatesh Iyer needs to fit but not in the top order. You want him to bat at No. 5 or No. 6, and also chip in with the bowling, probably a couple of overs or more and make him get used to that position. He could be the back-up to Hardik Pandya. You can develop Venkatesh Iyer as a utility all-rounder," he added.
The first T20 is scheduled for Jaipur on November 17 followed by games in Ranchi on November 19 and Kolkata on November 21.
Rohit Sharma will lead the team as Kohli stepped down as India's Twenty20 captain.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj