Ranji Trophy: Suchith’s IPL trap and shadow career

Karnataka cricketer J. Suchith reveals how Mumbai Indians had shown him the door a season after a starry debut in 2015.

During 2017 IPL player retention, Jagadeesha Suchith put in a request to be traded off to Delhi Capitals, but the Mumbai Indians management decided to retain him, but game time remained elusive.   -  S. Sudarshan

Karnataka cricketer Jagadeesha Suchith, who started his IPL career with Mumbai Indians in 2015, has been trying his luck to return to the franchise cricket fold for two years in a row. There have been no takers for the bowling all-rounder despite a minimal base price of Rs 20 lakh.

On the sidelines of the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Saurashtra, Suchith reflected on the play and pause phases of his first-class career and the IPL trap that sucked his energy.

Lack of games had forced him to ask the MI team management for a trade in 2017 but that didn’t happen either. “Though I did well in 2015, I didn’t get to play the first game in 2016. I was not even given a proper explanation as to why I wasn’t a part of the XI.  I played the second game where I didn’t do well, and I never played again.”

“Before the third game, the franchise said Krunal Pandya is new and the foreigners don’t know how to play him as they wouldn’t have seen him. They wanted to try out Krunal,” said Suchith, who had scored a match-winning 34 off 21 balls in his debut game against Kings XI Punjab.

Read: Ton-up Pujara takes Saurashtra to final

Former India captain Anil Kumble, who was the mentor of MI that season, had pushed for Suchith’s debut.

“Before the player retention for 2017, I had requested Rahul Sanghvi [MI team manager] to trade me to some other team. Delhi [Capitals] was interested in me. I wanted some game time. He refused to trade or put me back into the auction. He had convinced me that the franchise is going to back me and make me play but that didn’t happen,” revealed the slow left-arm orthodox bowler, who has 10 IPL wickets under his belt.

“The franchise was very keen on playing Krunal ahead of me. The communication was very limited between me and the officials.”

First-class career

Being a back-up: Despite picking up nine wickets against Saurashtra in the group game, Suchith was sidelined for the semifinal.   -  M.A. SRIRAM

 

Suchith understands that a call-up in the Karnataka XI is not easy. In five chances he had in Ranji Trophy 2018-19, he returned with 24 wickets inclusive of two fifers.

These days, even if sidelined, he imagines himself to be in match situations to keep the cricketing brain alive.

Being the third spinner after K. Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal, he is seen as a backup. Irrespective of performances, he often sits out to make way for the seniors. In fact, he had taken a match-haul of nine against Saurashtra in the group game but he still didn’t get picked for the semifinal against the same opponent.

“I sat out eight games last season, it was really hard. It was more of a challenge as I knew I had it in me to get wickets or do what Gowtham does, or what Shreyas does. I worked really hard with Raghuram Bhat [coach] in the off-season. As a cricketer, you can only prepare and be mentally ready.

“It is taxing for a player to wait. Before I played this season, I had to wait for around 14 games,” he said.

Also Read: Jaydev Unadkat bats for DRS post Pujara drama

Suchith’s 45 wickets in 13 games at an economy of 22.84 is sleek but he lost out on runs being a lower-order batsman. He only has 219 runs in his short first-class career so far.

“Until you get a rank turner, it is difficult to play three spinners. When it comes to a side like Karnataka that has a strong bench, it is also hard for the support staff to pick a formidable XI,” he added.

As of now, Suchith wants to play local KSCA matches to stay in the reckoning for that “one big break”.

He is unsure of trying out other leagues in and beyond India. “If I go outside, I might not be treated the same way when I come back.”

  Dugout videos