Mystery spinners add spice to the game. They are hard to pick, can fox batsmen with their variety, make a winning difference.
And spinners of this kind are hot property in the game’s shortest format. The batsmen don’t have time on their side and striking out against a bowler who is hard to read is fraught with danger.
Sunil Narine and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman are names that immediately spring to mind. Narine, for several years now, and Mujeeb, last season, have spun games in their sides’ favour in the Indian Premier League.
And someone now is grabbing eyeballs in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) with his different deliveries. C.V. Varun, who can mix the carrom ball and the leg-cutter with his off-spinners, is the new kid on the block.
The lanky bowler, with a high-arm action, donned a key role — he finished with three for 16 off four compelling overs — as Siechem Madurai Panthers upset defending champion Chepauk Super Gillies to register its first TNPL victory after two winless seasons.
Varun, crucially, had the fizz off the pitch at Tirunelveli; he got his off-spinners to turn and bounce and sent down the carrom ball and the leg-cutter with a fair measure of control.
For someone figuring only in TNCA’s second division league, Varun was impressive.
Former India leg-spinner L. Sivaramakrishnan said, “Varun looked promising. He was accurate and displayed his variety.”
Siva added, “He has a high-arm action which is essential for sending down the carrom ball and the leg-cutter. And he was getting his off-spinners to bite off the surface.”
A high percentage of his deliveries — as many as 12 in a four-over spell on Monday — were dot balls.
“He knows what he is bowling, is not spraying it around. In the days ahead, his temperament will be put to test,” commented Siva.
He said, “In the shorter formats, he could be handy for the State team. For the longer formats, he needs to bowl long spells, evolve.”
In T20 cricket, though, Varun can sting.