K Gowtham has stated that he will try to learn as much as possible from the senior players like Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, and Ajinkya Rahane in the Rajasthan Royals dressing room. Gowtham has also added that celebrating Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday in the Mumbai Indians was his favourite MI moment.
For any Bangalore boy, a drive in a Sunday morning is a beautiful experience. It gives them an opportunity to escape from the everyday infamous Bangalore traffic, but for Krishnappa Gowtham, January 28, 2018, was a day to lock himself out in the room first and then laugh his way to the bank after watching some wealthy people fight for his services at a plush hotel in just some kilometers away from home. Gowtham was signed by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping Rs 6.2 crores during the 2018 Indian Premier League auction and he couldn’t have been happier.
“I did pretty decently in the trials for the franchise. They asked me to open the innings. I did that. They asked me to bowl in the Powerplay overs and I did that well. They were fully confident of my ability and I think they saw that spark in me and decided to go all-out for me,” a composed and happy Gowtham told SportsCafe in an exclusive chat.
However, for him, it is money hard earned. Everything was not hunky dory for the off-spinning all-rounder when he had started his sojourn at the senior level. After a modest debut season, in 2012, for Karnataka – the behemoth in the Indian domestic circuit - Gowtham was jettisoned from the team and only found his way back into the playing XI last year. And that became possible thanks to the timely advice from the master of the yore Erapalli Prasanna and a few technical changes in his tall action helped him reap rewards in the 2016-17 domestic season. The career started sky-rocketing after that as he went on to position himself as the main all-round option for India A sides in both the formats of the game. His accomplished performances didn’t go unrewarded and earned him an IPL team in Mumbai Indians in 2017.
“It was a great experience playing for Mumbai Indians last season. The dressing room was full of legends and despite not getting a match last year, it was a great learning phase for me. It helped me understand the importance of fitness and it also helped me improve my all-round abilities. Definitely, the time with Mumbai Indians was one to savour for me.”
Being a part of Mumbai Indians franchise in the IPL also comes with its own perks for it helps every cricketer in being able to pick the brain of none other than Sachin Tendulkar.
“I was definitely star struck. When you have Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket, in front of you, you are ought to count your blessings. One of my favourite memories was celebrating Sachin Sir’s birthday in the dressing room and we all had great fun that day.
“Whenever I have gone and asked something about my game or any advice, he has always been very kind towards me and offered me whatever he can. That’s all that you can wish for as an athlete and definitely, it helped me big time.”
If "learning experience" was all that Gowtham wished for, his new franchise this year is definitely going to be a huge boost in his career. The team that has the likes of Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, and Ajinkya Rahane – the who’s and who’s of international cricket at the moment - in their line-up. However, it will be a bigger challenge for Karnataka’s highest Ranji Trophy wicket-taker of the season because he is not going to warm the bench anymore. He will be the team's first-choice spinning all-rounder and the task is huge.
“Really looking forward to my association with Rajasthan Royals. I will try to do everything possible on the field for the team and will try to take away the positives like how I can improve my game and how I can grow as a cricketer.
“Obviously, there are players likes Stokes, Steve Smith and Rahane in the team. I will try to learn big hitting from Stokes and from Rahane, I will try to understand how to pace an innings. Obviously, from Smith, will try to understand the captain’s perspective and how he looks at different situations of the game. It will be a great opportunity for sure.”
In the changed milieu of Indian cricket, one good season in the IPL can help him reach the highest point of his life. And Gowtham knows that the ever evasive good blue jersey will not evade him for long if he can perform consistently in the IPL. Till then, however, he can do only one thing – go and perform better than the best and learn more from the best.