Bahutule: ‘What Shreyas achieved is a leg-spinner’s dream’

Rajasthan Royals spin bowling coach Sairaj Bahutule praised Shreyas Gopal for his outstanding spell that helped the side beat Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal celebrates one of his three wickets against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Tuesday.   -  BCCI

It was a magical outing for Shreyas Gopal. A night that he will never forget, a match that put him in the limelight like never before. Within a space of 10 balls, he dismissed Virat Kohli, A.B. de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer — the first two are among the batting greats of all time, while the third is one of the world’s most exciting young batsmen.

On Tuesday at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, none of them had an answer to the questions posed by his googlies. Kohli was bowled, de Villiers gave a return catch and Hetmyer was caught behind. Shreyas’ spell turned the match in favour of Rajasthan Royals against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

It could well be one of the best spells by a spinner in the IPL ever. Sairaj Bahutule, former India leg-spinner and now a spin bowling coach with the Royals, believes so.

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“What he achieved is a leg-spinner’s dream, getting all those wrong ‘uns so right at such a crucial juncture of the match,” Bahutule told Sportstar here on Wednesday. “I particularly liked the way he clean-bowled Kohli.”

The coach also praised the temperament of the 25-year-old Karnataka all-rounder. “That is actually one of his strengths as a bowler,” he said. “He has an excellent googly. He could turn the ball sharply and is an attacking bowler.”

Bahutule feels Shreyas has the potential to play for India. “I think this performance could be a turning point for him,” he said. “He has also done well in red-ball cricket.”

He has taken 184 wickets from 56 matches at an average of 26.19. He has impressive numbers with the bat too – 2431 runs at 35.75, with four hundreds.

At the IPL, it was last year that he got noticed; he took 11 wickets at an economy rate of 7.61. This time around, he has brought it down to 5.58 and has six wickets so far.