KKR’s mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy finally delivers
Abu Dhabi: It is not just the fast bowlers who hunt in pairs. In T20 cricket or Indian Premier League (IPL) to be precise, bowlers with mystery spin too hunt in pairs.
The art of bowling mystery spin had long been the forte of Sunil Narine at Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). But youngster Varun Chakravarthy is fast catching up.
On Wednesday against Chennai Super Kings, Chakravarthy helped turn the game around for KKR by removing MS Dhoni with a delivery that was shaping up to be a leg-break but went straight on as the India legend went down to slog-sweep him to the boundary. CSK were in the game at that stage needing 39 off 22 balls before Dhoni fell. Chakravarthy, a leg-spinner, then bowled three dot balls to increase the required run rate before CSK succumbed to pressure and fell short of the target by 10 runs at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The Tamil Nadu leg-spinner, who has got a second wind this IPL season after missing the last season — his first — due to an injury, may soon snatch away the role of lead spinner from Narine at KKR.
In an earlier game against Delhi Capitals, he had proved his worth, taking a wicket and conceding just 13 in the two powerplay overs at the Sharjah ground that has small boundaries. In contrast, the Trinidadian conceded 15 in the only over he bowled in the phase. Narine though bowled well against CSK.
Although Chakravarthy has picked just five wickets in four games — giving away runs at just over eight, it is the manner in which he has scalped his victims that has caught the eye. He is, through his performance, proving he is worth the Rs 4 crore that KKR have shelled out on him.
Last year, the 29-year-old earned a whopping Rs 8.4 crore from Kings XI Punjab on the back of his performances in Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) but was later laid low by the injury. He could play just one game in last year’s edition. This year, he is back, but in different colours and his wickets will only add to his reputation.
A few wickets by him this season show how good he has been. Against SunRisers Hyderabad, he deceived David Warner with a delivery that went straight on despite the delivery shaping up like a leg-break. Then, against Rajasthan Royals, he got rid of Rahul Tewatia with a googly that turned sharply from the leg and pegged back the middle-stump. Against Delhi Capitals, he bowled a top-spinner with a leg-cutter grip.
Chakravarthy possesses a leg-break, a carrom ball, off-spinner, flipper and top-spinner in his repertoire. While most leg-spinners have variety, deception and bounce make him a bit different from others on the Indian circuit.