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

Although Varun was a discovery in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), he was not tested at a higher level.

Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin threw his weight behind mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy during the unveiling of cricket memorabilia at an event in Mumbai on Saturday.   -  Vivek Bendre

When Varun Chakravarthy was picked by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping ₹8.4 crore in the Indian Premier League auction in December last year, it raised quite a few eyebrows.

After all, the Tamil Nadu spinner had not even featured in domestic cricket much. Although he was a discovery in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), he was still not tested at a higher level.

But as the 12th edition of the IPL nears, Varun’s teammate and Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin made it clear that it is quite "unfair to weigh down" on a bowler based on the money he has fetched at auction.

“Look, it’s not so much about the mystery bowler or the price. We paid for the demands (of) a certain skill set. I don’t think it’s right to put the price weighing down on the bowler like what happened to Jaydev (Unadkat) last year. It’s quite unfair to do that,” Ashwin said.

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Last year, Rajasthan Royals had roped in Jaydev Unadkat for ₹11.5 crore, but the Saurashtra pacer had a rather forgettable outing.

“It’s more like a supply and demand issue. What issues we are trying to sort out with a particular pre-placement bowler or batsman, so… It’s more about we have the budget of ₹70-80 crore and we have to spend it on the wide variety of cricketers that we need to assemble in our team, so…,” Ashwin said.

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“Yes, of course there is an ability quotient that comes into play, but it’s more about the supply and demand and Varun Chakravarthy is someone who we thought could really fit in the spinner’s role for us and we went ahead and got him. And the price is dictated by the market and not necessarily that needs to weigh down on his shoulders,” Ashwin said.

Even though the Kings XI Punjab captain backed Varun, injury remains a concern for the Tamil Nadu mystery spinner. He had injured his shoulder while playing for his club Vijay CC in a first-division game in Chennai. Varun was subsequently ruled out of Tamil Nadu’s squad for the group stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Now even though Varun has joined the Kings XI camp in Mohali, the team support staff is monitoring him closely. With just a week left for the tournament to begin, it needs to be seen whether he fully recovers in time.

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