Varun Chakravarthy came under the IPL franchises' radar after he impressed in this year's Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) for Siechem Madurai Panthers. He took nine wickets from 10 games at an outstanding economy of 4.7. He had 125 dot ball out of the 240 he bowled. 'TNPL helped me to play under pressure. The seniors helped me a lot,' Varun said
Bengaluru: A journey that began as a teenager, hit a roadblock. And he quit cricket after being rejected. He went back to college to become an engineer. Then, his passion for the game was rekindled. And now, he has won the big bucks at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 Auction in Jaipur.
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Meet Varun Chakravarthy, the mystery spinner, who was bought by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for a whopping Rs 8.4 crore, making him the joint costliest (with Jaydev Unadkat) at this year's auction.
Varun, who claims that he has seven variations in his bowling (legbreak, offbreak, googly, carrom ball, flipper, topspinner, slider), began playing cricket at the age of 13. At the start he was a wicketkeeper-batsman.
His career did not take off as he was rejected in the age-group stage. Then, he went to study engineering. He became an architect. But he again came back to take up cricket and became an architect of his cricket career and is now set to play in the cash-rich IPL.
Quitting the game
"I don't know, I just built up so much pressure inside me, and it blasted. I just quit, and I walked in and right away said I want to stop working and I came back. Then I told my parents that my mind was not there, I just wasn't able to do it. They understood and supported me, although I didn't know what I was going to do next. I dusted off my old kit bag which I hadn't used for six years. I didn't know anything else, and I had to take up cricket again," Varun told CricketNext recently.
"I had no contacts, didn't know any player or coach. I randomly went into the Abdul Jabbar cricket academy. They said they take people only below 20. I was much older, beard and all. They initially rejected me because of my age, but I convinced them saying I'll just bowl for three hours every day. All I would do there was bowl. It gave me happiness," he added.
Bowling at CSK nets, playing TNPL
Varun came under the IPL franchises' radar after he impressed in this year's Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) for Siechem Madurai Panthers. He took nine wickets from 10 games at an outstanding economy of 4.7. He had 125 dot ball out of the 240 he bowled.
"TNPL helped me to play under pressure. The seniors helped me a lot," Varun said.
Also, Varun, before IPL 2018, bowled at Chennai Super Kings (CSK) nets. And he also attended Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) trials where he interacted with Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla.
At the CSK nets, he had the opportunity to bowl to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. CSK batting coach and former Australian batsman Mike Hussey praised Varun. Hussey saw Varun's bowling during TNPL as he was a part of the TV commentary panel.
Knee injury forces to turn to spin
Earlier, he was a fast bowler but had to turn to spin due to knee injury.
"Initially, I was a wicketkeeper-batsman. But I stopped cricket and worked for two years. Then I made a comeback as a fast bowler for Crombest CC, three years ago. But during the second match, I suffered a knee injury. So, I had to stop playing for six months. I didn't want to continue fast bowling since it placed too much load on my knees," Varun told The New Indian Express.
Anil Kumble as idol
Varun, in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, revealed that he idolises former India captain Anil Kumble. He said that he has learnt a lot from Kumble by watching his bowling videos on Youtube.
Having played a lot of tennis-ball cricket in Chennai, he later joined Jubilee Cricket Club in the fourth division. He took 31 wickets.
After several disappointments, Varun, last month, made his first-class debut, against Hyderabad. It was not a good beginning as he gave away 105 runs for just one wicket.
Now, it is time for Varun to bask in the glory of IPL. And he will have a big challenge awaiting him next year. He will be hoping to deliver.
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Last Updated 18, Dec 2018, 8:42 PM