Iyer played a crucial unbeaten knock of 35 off 19 balls in the third and final T20I against West Indies at the Eden Gardens. The 27-year-old finished the series as the fourth-highest run-getter with 92 runs from three matches and took two wickets as well.
“After this series, I feel Iyer is a little bit ahead because you don’t know Hardik Pandya whether he’s bowling now or how fit he is. Obviously how the IPL goes for Hardik Pandya will play a very key role but at this point of time, Venkatesh Iyer is ahead of Hardik Pandya,” Jaffer said on ESPNcricinfo.
“I am surprised with how good he’s playing as a No. 6 batter. We have seen him as an opener but for him to come out and get adapted so well at No. 6 and finish games is outstanding. Plus, the way he’s bowled as well, got a couple of important wickets. He definitely gives [India] an edge going into the World Cup,” Jaffer said.
India head coach Rahul Dravid too was pleased with Iyer’s performance in this series.
IN PICS: Suryakumar Yadav leads India to series sweep of West Indies
<p>India beat West Indies by 17 runs in the third and final Twenty20 international thanks to a brilliant innings by Suryakumar Yadav at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Sunday to win the series 3-0. (PTI Photo)</p>
“I know he (Iyer) plays a different role (opener) for his IPL franchise but we’re very clear with what is the kind of role that we see him filling in our situation? Obviously, our top three isn’t really a spot, because these guys have established and have been performing very well in the top three,” Dravid said after the third T20I win on Sunday.
“So we challenged him, we gave him the role to be able to bat in that position. Every time he’s improved, he’s gotten better. That’s really pleasing,” he added.