An off spin bowler, he was one of the famed Indian quartet of spin bowlers in the 1970s (the others being Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishen Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna). Venkat came on to the Test scene at the age of 20 when he was selected to play against the touring New Zealand side. By the end of the series he had emerged as a world-class spinner, taking 12 wickets in the Delhi test that led India to victory. He was the vice-captain of the Indian team that toured the West Indies and England in 1970-71. India won both series. Venkat played an important role, claiming five wickets in the Trinidad Test and 13 wickets in the three Tests in England. He captained India in both the 1975 and 1979 World Cup competitions. He also led India in a four-Test series against England in 1979. In domestic cricket, he led South Zone and Tamil Nadu for over a decade.