Gowtham says I'm a 'bowler who can bat'

Gowtham contributed with both bat and ball and helped India B’s march to the final of the Deodhar Trophy.

K. Gowtham walks back after being dismissed by India C bowler Pappu Roy.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Offspinner K. Gowtham had a crucial role to play in India B’s 30-run victory over India C in the Deodhar Trophy contest here. In an all-round performance, he claimed three wickets, including those of India internationals Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina, and with the bat, scored 18 runs down the order.

His knock included two sixes off left-arm spinner Pappu Roy, who eventually dismissed him when he attempted another big hit. India B stumbled to 231 for nine in its 50 overs, a total that turned out to be safely adequate.

Gowtham could have ploughed on alongside his staid batting partner Hanuma Vihari in those overs, but he admitted he was only trying to change the momentum of the sagging innings, a role he is familiar with.

“I was just helping my team shift the momentum. We didn’t have too many wickets in hand but still, it was important for us to accelerate. The moment you change that, there are positives like gathering runs much faster than what you would expect. I got a couple of boundaries and a couple of sixes [and] then the run-rate started moving and that’s when the runs start coming.”

Read:  Vihari, spinners steer India B into final

He was in an equally combative spirit with the ball. The prized wicket of Rahane was a result of unsettling him, he said. It was the second wicket to fall in the 19th over, and perhaps the start of the downfall.

“[Rahane] has much knowledge about the wicket and he’s played much international cricket. [But] at the same time, he’s a batsman. When you put a batsman under pressure, he will sulk under pressure. He has to play a false shot (a soft drive to cover). I was trying to do that, I didn’t want to bowl to his strengths; his strengths are - he wants the ball to come on to him quickly, and he wants to use the pace of the ball. But I was making sure that [I made it uncomfortable for him]. He likes the ball coming on to him but I wasn’t giving it so easily to him. He had to work for a single, he had to do everything,” Gowtham revealed.

What aided his cause was the pitch. “There’s always something on Kotla wicket so I enjoy bowling here,” he admitted.

Gowtham has capabilities of making a mark with both bat and ball, as he displayed on Wednesday. However, he clarified that he identifies himself as a “bowler who can bat.” Gowtham was quick to add that he is ready to perform both roles according to his team’s situations.

[I’m ready to adapt to] whatever the situation demands and whatever the team demands. If I had to play as an offspinner, I can do that and if there are runs required quickly, they (the team management) might promote me up the order and ask me to take those extra chances which I can take. So I don’t mind that role; whatever the team demands of me, I don’t mind to try and execute it,” he said.