How Varun Chakaravarthy found his mojo against Delhi Capitals

PC – BCCI. Varun found some form versus DC

The Kolkata Knight Riders-Punjab Kings game at Eden Gardens turned out to be a harrowing experience for most of the bowlers. One who couldn’t chisel out the right path in largely excellent conditions for batting was Varun Chakaravarthy, a mainstay of the KKR bowling unit. The experienced spinner returned modest figures of none for 46 in three overs. But then, cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties.

In their very next match against Delhi Capitals, Chakaravarthy stuck to his strengths and bagged a three-for. Here, it has to be mentioned that the pacemen whittling away at the DC batting line-up provided Chakaravarthy with the right kind of launchpad. So, when he came on to bowl, DC were already in some trouble at 73 for 4. The resultant outcome was that KKR could set attacking fields and Chakaravarthy was able to settle into a good rhythm. 

Just like always, he put on an exhibition of his variations. For Kumar Kushagra, he employed the googly with a flatter trajectory. Meanwhile, Tristan Stubbs was done in by a leg-spinner, bowled in the channel outside the off stump. He also dismissed Rishabh Pant by flighting it up a little more and enticing the wicketkeeper-bat to attempt a hoick across the line. 

There was something else to notice as well. The trait of bowling on a good length with a flatter trajectory and hitting higher up on the bat. The ninth over of DC’s innings illustrated the point. Every delivery was on a good length and Chakaravarthy extracted a bit of bounce to prevent Pant and Axar Patel from landing the big shots. All that DC could collect was seven runs. Chakaravarthy should have even picked up the wicket of Pant, but Harshit Rana fluffed a rather easy chance. 

During last season’s IPL, Chakaravarthy had gone back to basing his game on key strengths, which in turn played a part in his success. “I think he has gone back to a little bit of his old self,” Sriram Krishnamurthy, his coach at Madurai Panthers, had told RevSportz. “The reality is, as the players go through the years, they are constantly on the journey of finding ways to improve. And Varun went on that journey to see how he can improve, how he can gain an edge every single season. And in that journey, he somehow lost a bit of his old self. 

“He wanted to see whether he could slow the pace down, pitch the ball slightly up more,” added Krishnamurthy. “I think in that process, he lost a little bit of revs.  He has definitely pulled back his length a little bit. The natural pace he used to bowl gave him success. Some of those natural trends are his strengths. He has got that pace, he bowls with a slightly high arm action, which means, with his height and pace, he gets a little more bounce. And the reality is, he has gone back to doing all those things that gave him success previously.”

Compared to last year, where he took 20 wickets at an average of 21.45 and at an economy rate of 8.14, Chakaravarthy’s performance hasn’t been up to expectations. Although it has to be pointed out that the dice has been heavily loaded in favour of the batters this season. 

After his game-changing performance versus DC, Chakaravarthy sits at No. 14 in the list of top wicket-takers. With the league stage reaching its climax, it is the right time for him to take his game to an elevated level and chart his way up that leaderboard.