KKR vs KXIP: Mystery spinner Varun makes IPL debut

Tamil Nadu's uncapped mystery spinner and all-rounder Varun Chakravarthy aka C.V. Varun was picked up for Rs 8.4 crore by Kings XI Punjab.

A qualified architect, C.V. Varun can mix the carrom ball and leg-cutter with off-spinners, a lethal combination.   -  R. Ragu

Mystery spinner, Varun Chakravarthy aka C.V. Varun, who made heads turn when he was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 8.4 crore in the IPL auction, had an equal expensive debut in the league against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

KKR opener Sunil Narine sent him on a leather hunt in his first over itself. The tweaker conceded 25 runs.

The first six came off the second ball — a tad full and in the slot. Narine smashed the looped up delivery over long-off. The fourth ball was a carrom ball that was kept short, which the southpaw cleared through the mid-wicket area for four runs.

Varun conceded two more sixes in the last two deliveries, one over deep mid-wicket and the other, over backward square leg.

Varun's skipper in the IPL, R. Ashwin, wants to learn a trick or two from the youngster. “I am very excited with the fact that there are a couple of good spinners in my team. I am quite excited to have them. I have seen M. Ashwin very closely, he also plays in my league side in TNCA. I know Varun did well in the TNPL.

“It [their selection] covers one facet of the department concerning spin. It is something I can watch closely and mentor. I am looking forward to learning a few things from Varun,” Ashwin told Sportstar, in an earlier interview.

Read: Not fair to bog down Varun Chakravarthy with price tag, says Ashwin

"I am very happy and excited. I was nervous before the auction and did not expect to get picked beyond my base price." Varun said after the IPL auction in December last year.

"Everyone was watching it, and very happy."

 

"I am happy to be part of the side with Ravichandran Ashwin and I just hope to learn from the experience of playing in the IPL."

After a fierce bidding war, the bowler emerged as the most expensive player in this year's sell-off along with Indian left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat, bagged by Rajasthan Royals for the same price.

Varun was a fourth division player in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association League until 2017. However, he made his Ranji Trophy debut against Hyderabad in 2018. In the nine List A matches that he has played, Varun has picked 22 wickets which includes a five-wicket haul.

The leg-spinner was also the second highest wicket-taker in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

In a recent interview to a publication, the mystery spinner said that he has as many as seven variations. Varun can bowl offbreak, legbreak, googly, carrom ball, fipper, topspinner and a slider.

 

Road to Success

Varun began playing cricket when he was 13 but took up architecture after several rejections in age-group cricket.

He later returned to the game, honing his skills as a spinner able to bowl both off and leg breaks, with quite a few tricks under his hat.

After a stint with Jubilee Cricket Club in the fourth division, Varun's variations caught the attention of Chennai Super Kings, where he bowled in the nets.

After Chennai's home games were moved to Pune, it was Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik who extended support. Karthik along with KKR team analyst A.R. Srikkanth asked Varun to bowl in the nets. This is where the mystery spinner got a chance to meet West Indian spinner Sunil Narine and picked his brains.     

Varun then implemented the lessons in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) 2018 and helped Siechem Madurai Panthers lift the title for the maiden time. Such was his performance that he earned praise from former Australian batsman Mike Hussey.