TIRUNELVELI: The fruit of hard work is always sweet. For mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who went to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 8.4 crore in the IPL auction, the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) was his springboard to success.
During the TNPL earlier this year, the former SRM University architecture student was eventual winners Siechem Madurai Panthers’ secret weapon for stopping runs.
What makes Varun a unique bowler is how he has used his variations to effect, as shown by his haul of nine wickets at an economy rate of 4.7. He was with Karaikudi Kaalai last season, but played only one match. He revealed that he has used only four to five variations so far, and is planning to master eight.
Varun was a net bowler for Chennai Super Kings for five days, when they played one match in Chennai in IPL 2018. Later, he was called by Dinesh Karthik to bowl for Kolkata Knight Riders. “Bowling to the likes of Dhoni, Raina and others made me understand a batsmen’s mindset in T20s. When I was with KKR for two weeks, Sunil Narine’s coach Carl Crowe gave me insights.”
“There are four to five variations I am bowling. One that goes away, one that comes in, straighter one, flipper and zooter. In the past two years, I experimented with whatever I could. I am implementing that now,” he told Express in August.
It was while Varun was playing for Vijay CC in TNCA First Division league that KB Arun Karthik spotted his talent and wanted him to play for Madurai. An architect by profession, even after getting an opportunity to play in the first division, Varun turned it down and played in the fourth division to perfect his variations.
“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. “After that, I got a chance to play in the first division. I didn’t want to experiment there. I started with Jubilee CC in the fourth division. When I said I wanted to try out a few things, their support staff gave me the freedom to express myself.”
Varun also credits exposure of tennis-ball cricket under lights for helping him evolve. “It took years for me to transfer that skill to a cricket ball.”
(With inputs from Online Desk)