Happy TNPL comeback for mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy

Varun impressed the Indian team management to an extent that he was picked ahead of the experienced leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for the T20 World Cup in the UAE.

Published: 26th June 2022 05:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2022 05:18 AM   |  A+A-

Spinner Varun Chakravarthy

Spinner Varun Chakravarthy

Express News Service

TIRUNELVELI: Varun Chakravarthy needs no introduction. He is one of the earliest success stories from the Tamil Nadu Premier League. The mystery spinner rose to fame in the third edition of the tournament, with nine wickets in ten games for Madurai Panthers while operating at a miserly economy of 4.7.

Since then, he has seen everything: List-A and first-class debut for Tamil Nadu, the riches of Indian Premier League with Punjab Kings first and then with Kolkata Knight Riders since 2020, and an India debut in 2021 against Sri Lanka. Varun impressed the Indian team management to an extent that he was picked ahead of the experienced leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

However, that was the last high point in his career. He went wicketless in the World Cup as India faced an early exit. KKR retained him but his poor run continued in IPL 2022 to an extent where they had to leave him out of the playing XI. He finished with six scalps in 11 matches while going over 8.5 runs per over.

After the IPL, Varun has come back to where it all started for him. He is returning to the TNPL for the first time since his debut season in 2018. Only this time, he isn’t a rookie spinner looking to seize the opportunity. He is the international star in the squad the team needs to bank on.

And Varun did not disappoint as all he needed was just two deliveries to make an impact in their opening game against Chepauk Super Gillies at ICL Ground in Tirunelveli on Saturday. CSG had already lost their top-order by the time Varun came along. But with Sonu Yadav and Uthirasamy Sasidev in the middle, the defending champions were still in the game. Varun fired one onto the pads of Sonu and sent him back to the pavilion on his very second delivery.

Rajagopal Sathish came out all guns blazing hitting the spinner with the wind over cover on his first ball. Varun came back stronger, bringing the ball into the right-hander and hitting the top of the off-stump. He reduced CSG to 37/5 in one over and they slumped further to 51/7. He looked in good rhythm, trying out different variations, often ensuring that the CSG batters didn’t go on the counterattack.

But Panthers held back Varun after two overs as S Harish Kumar and Sasidev put on a record eighth-wicket stand of 82 runs. Varun finished with 2/28 and CSG recovered to 135/8. However, thanks to Balchander Anirudh’s unbeaten 41-ball 58, the Panthers chased down the target with ease in 18.1 overs.  

“Happy to be playing for the same team I made my debut for,” said the 30-year-old after the match. “During the IPL, without realising because of over practice, things changed (in my bowling). Now, I have identified that and corrected it,” he said.

Brief scores: CSG 135/8 in 20 ovs (Sasidev 58; Kiran 3/34, Varun 2/28) lost to SMP 136/6 in 18.1 ovs (Anirudh 58 n.o; Alexander 3/20).


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