In the fast lane

Last November, Sandeep Warrier was not even in the Kerala Ranji Trophy team, but now Royal Challengers Bangalore has signed up the tall, wiry pace bowler for the Indian Premier League. Not many Indian pacemen have generated as much buzz in their very first season in first-class cricket as this 21-year-old from Thrissur. “Sandeep is special, no doubt,” says former India opener and Kerala’s Ranji coach Sujith Somasunder. “He is pretty quick and has the ability to generate awkward lift and bounce.”

Sandeep can swing the ball at good speed too, as he did against Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy match at Perinthalmanna recently where he claimed six for 44. He finished the Ranji season with 24 wickets from five matches, at 19.20. Following an SOS from the BCCI while he was in Maharashtra for an inter-club tournament, Sandeep got the chance to bowl at the Indian team nets in Kochi ahead of the one-day match against England. Virat Kohli was among those who watched him bowl, and within a few days, the Indian vice-captain’s IPL team signed up Sandeep.

“I am delighted that I would be playing in the IPL, that too for a team that has Kohli, A. B. de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Zaheer Khan,” said Sandeep. “My ambition is to play Tests,” he added.

P. K. Ajith Kumar