Bagging the uncapped crown

AKHILESH KUMAR

"I am delighted but at the same time my responsibility has increased. I have to repay the faith that Sunrisers have shown in me," says Karn Sharma, who was the most expensive buy among the uncapped players.

Following his impressive debut with Sunrisers Hyderabad last season, Karn Sharma was confident that he won't be disappointed in his maiden Indian Premier League auction. But little did the 26-yearold leg-spinner know that he will fetch the highest bid among the uncapped players on the second and final day of the auctions.

"Well, I wanted someone to bid for me. The moment it happened, I wasn't really bothered about my price. I knew that Sunrisers will show interest in me, but Rs. 3.75 crore - I had absolutely no idea that I will get the highest bid," Karn told PTI over phone from his residence in Meerut.

"I am delighted but at the same time my responsibility has increased. I have to repay the faith that Sunrisers have shown in me," he added.

The Railways player said Kings XI Punjab had shown interest in him, as Kolkata Knight Riders had taken Piyush Chawla. "I believe there was a bidding war because Kings XI Punjab also needed a leg-spinner and Sanju bhai (Sanjay Bangar) was at the bidding table.

"I have played for Railways under Sanju Bhai's captaincy and he is aware about my abilities. In any case, more than the price, you want to play matches. Sunrisers had given that opportunity earlier also and I am honoured to return to their fold," Karn said.

From being a `Fitter' (a Grade 3 employee) with the Indian Railways to bagging a multi-crore deal, Karn has come a long way.

"I am proud to play for Railways and never had any complaints with facilities provided to us," said Karn.

Having opened for Railways across all formats, Karn reckoned that he cane be called an allrounder. "I take my batting very seriously. I have scored a century and six half-centuries in Ranji Trophy. I prefer being known as an all-rounder. I am ready to bat up the order if the team management wants me to do so," he said.

Recently, Karn was selected as one of India's probables for the World T20 although he didn't make it to the final 15. "The selection in the probables list for World T20 was a huge boost for me. This meant that selectors are watching my performance. At the end of the day, a player would be known for his performance rather than price," Karn said.