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Indian Premier League 2021

From an architect to a mystery spinner, the tale of Varun Chakravarthy

Behold the journey of KKR's leading wicket-taker in IPL 2020

From an architect to a mystery spinner, the tale of Varun Chakravarthy

Varun Chakravarthy surprised all with his guile and control in IPL 2020 (Source: Sportstar)


Rashi Bhattacharyya

Updated: 2 April 2021 2:37 PM GMT

IPL 2020 was memorable for many things - a delay brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the matches relocated to bio-secure bubbles in the UAE and the eternal favourites Mumbai Indians lifting the trophy once again.

Among the many players who churned impressive performances in the last edition, Varun Chakravarthy emerged as one of the heroes for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Even though the team failed to reach the play-offs, Chakravarthy spearheaded KKR's rally with the ball.

After being retained by the franchise before the auction earlier this year, the 29-year-old spinner is ready to repeat his last year's performance in IPL 2021.
Before we see him in action during the upcoming season, let's take a look at his career so far.

A wicket-keeper who returned as a spinner

Like many kids in this country, Varun Chakravarthy also dreamt of being a cricketer.
Up until the time he was 17, he was playing as a wicket-keeper. Unable to make any progress with his cricketing career, Varun decided to leave the world of sport and pursue architecture instead.
Around 2015, Chakravarthy was working as a freelancer. Realising that freelancing wasn't a financially viable option, he once again turned to cricket.

His comeback started with tennis-ball cricket, following which he remodelled himself as a bowling all-rounder. Soon, he found his calling as a spinner when a knee injury crippled his pace-bowling plans.

As Chakravarthy kept experimenting with different spin variations, Karaikudi Kaalais drafted him for the Tamil Nadu Premier League in 2017.
The following year, he was acquired by Siechem Madurai Panthers during the 2018 season. Here, in the 10 games he played, Chakravarthy took nine wickets at an impressive economy rate of 4.7 and helped the team win the title.
This excellent showcase of talent not only secured him net sessions with IPL teams like CSK and KKR but also ensured the beginning of his List-A and First-Class career.
During his List-A debut for Tamil Nadu in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy, he emerged as the leading wicket-taker for the team with 22 wickets in nine matches.
That very season, he also made his first-class debut for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy.

A roller-coaster journey in the Indian Premier League

Chakravarthy's ascent as a mystery spinner with seven distinct variations - leg-spin, off-spin, arm ball, googly, carrom ball, the flipper and the top spinner - was soon rewarded with a contract worth INR. 8.4 crores from Kings XI Punjab during IPL 2019 auction.
The rise was meteoric and the accolades engulfed him.
However, after just one match, an injury sidelined the spinner.
Even in the solitary game he played, he had a wicket-less spell of 35 runs with his very first over costing 25 runs.
His underwhelming performance put him back in the market for IPL 2020. The rise was phenomenal and the fall was swift.
But fortune did smile upon Chakravarthy and KKR picked him in the 2020 auctions.
And the rest is history.

Under Dinesh Karthik's captaincy in the first half of the season, he was given enough chances to flourish, and he didn't disappoint.
The spinner became the leading wicket-taker for KKR last season with 17 wickets. A remarkable five-wicket haul against the Delhi Capitals during a league match garnered appreciation from the Indian cricket fraternity.
People stood up and took notice of the new Indian mystery spinner.

His spectacular spells even earned him a call-up to the Indian T20 squad for the tour of Australia. It was an absolute fairly tale.

However, an injury ruled him out of the series before he could travel to Australia. Another opportunity for making his international debut came earlier this year when he was named in India's T20I squad for the England series.
Unfortunately, a failed fitness test stopped him in his tracks.
While his international call-ups have been moments of so-near-yet-so-far, IPL 2021 is an opportunity for the spinner to once again prove his credentials.
For this Chakravarthy - a former architect - designing a web of deceit is all that matters now.
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