Aakash Chopra feels that mystery spinner Varun Charkravarthy, who redeemed himself on Saturday after a horror IPL debut in 2019, must have believed that his IPL career was well and truly over. Chakravarthy, versus SRH, returned exceptional figures of 1/25 and sent big fish Warner back to the hut.
After a horror IPL debut in 2019 - he was smashed for 25 runs in his first over by Sunil Narine and he never played again all season after that - Varun Charkavarthy looked primed to be remembered as the worst debutant in IPL history. The 8.4 crore price-tag didn’t help his cause and questions were raised when he was once again purchased by an IPL franchise for a hefty sum (4 crore).
But on Saturday versus SRH, the mystery spinner did justice to his price-tag and reputation and bowled a match-winning spell of 1/25 to prove that he belongs to the highest level. In a spell filled with variations and intelligence, Varun adjusted his lines and lengths to perfection and bamboozled the SRH batsmen, including David Warner, who the mystery spinner dismissed for 36.
Reflecting on the 29-year-old’s spell, Aakash Chopra heaped praise on the Tamil Nadu man’s mettle and adaptability and claimed that he showed exceptional mental strength to bounce back. According to Chopra, Varun, after his debut in 2019, might have thought that his IPL career was over.
“He played only one game last season. That was against this very team and was hammered in the first over. He must have thought this IPL career was over,” Chopra said in a video posted by ESPNCricinfo.
“Let’s be honest, when you play the game and you have David Warner, who is an exceptional player of spin bowling in the IPL, at the other end, your job is cut out. He was under pressure, he had to adapt, he had to actually change his pace a lot and bring all the variations he has to the table. And he continued to do that.
“First he dismissed Warner through an easy caught-and-bowled, and then when he bowled to Saha, he bowled really wide and really quick. To Manish Pandey, I thought he was adapting to the demands of the situation. He was brilliant.”
Due to the sheer amount he attracted in the auction - both in 2019 and 2020 - Chakravarthy’s performances have been marred by ‘money talks’. But, according to Chopra, in the end, it all comes down to skill and mettle. The renowned commentator revealed that Chakravarthy had expressed self-doubt in a conversation prior to the IPL and expressed his delight over the 29-year-old succeeding at the biggest stage.
“He wanted to be a fast bowler, had injuries. Then he started bowling with the Tennis ball and developed these variations. But to replicate that with the leather ball is never easy. So it hasn’t come to him very easily. Yes, big bucks, but in the end it’s not about the big bucks; it’s about performing on the stage where you’re actually rubbing shoulders with the best in the world.
“He is living the dream, but this was the ultimate test - whether he was good enough to last an entire IPL game without getting hammered. There were a lot of self-doubts, I spoke to him before the IPL started, he did mention to me that he was under pressure. So this game was really important from his perspective.”