A Second Coming - Varun Chakravarthy’s rise to international cricket

In IPL 2019, Varun Chakravarthy was picked by KXIP for Rs 8.4cr and became the most expensive uncapped player bought by any franchise.

Varun Chakravarthy took two wickets in three games played recently against Sri Lanka in T20I series which India lost by 2-1.
Varun Chakravarthy is among the World T20 probables for India. (Image: ©BCCI/IPL)

Varun Chakravarthy made his international debut at the age of 29 in the first of the three match T20I series against Sri Lanka. The mystery spinner who has bamboozled our TV screens in the Indian Premier League(IPL) for the KKR has a usually unusual story of his journey to the big stage.

The journey has been more beautiful than the destination

Varun started playing cricket as a young wicket-keeper batsman at the age of 13. After multiple rejections in age group cricket, Varun left his hopes of being a cricketer and went on to pursue architecture from SRM Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai. He played next to no cricket over his 5 years there until he started working as a freelance architect when his passion for the game was re-ignited. He later quit his job and joined the CromBest Cricket Club as a seam-bowling all-rounder.

Varun once again was faced with a tough decision when a knee injury not only ruled him out for better part of a year but also dimmed his ambition of becoming a pace bowler. During his time off, he once again went back to his roots in tennis ball cricket where he honed his skills as a spinner.

A mystery spinner rises through the ranks

Over the year, Varun developed many variations in his spin bowling repertoire and exhibited his talent in fourth division cricket playing for the Jubilee Cricket club where he took 31 wickets over 7 matches at an average of 8.26 and an economy of 3.06.

Later that year he got the opportunity to play for Karaikudi Kaalais in the Tamil Nadu Premier League in 2017. In his breakthrough year in 2018, he was acquired by Siechem Madurai Panthers where his performances not only helped overcome the team’s 15-match losing streak but also helped the unit to go on and win the title for the very first time.

He took 9 wickets in the 10 games played during that season for Madurai Panthers but displayed a low economy of 4.7 and a dot ball percentage of 52.8. Varun’s bag of variations along with the ability to bowl the slog and power play overs economically caught the eyes of many. He soon got his maiden call up to the higher echelons of domestic cricket and he represented his state Tamil Nadu in the 50-over Vijay Hazare tournament in 2018. He ended that season as the top wicket-taker in the group stage, taking 22 wickets in 9 matches at an economy of 4.2.