Varun Chakravarthy: I didn't label myself a mystery spinner
Varun Chakravarthy hasn't been brought back into the Indian team since the end of the T20 World Cup in UAE last November.
Varun Chakravarthy has been called a 'mystery spinner' ever since his rise into a prominent member of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) side in the IPL, who went to play the last year's T20 World Cup for India. But the Tamil Nadu bowler says the tag is largely uncalled for since he sees himself as a "leggie who has other variations".
Chakravarthy said just because he can employ a quick mix of balls leaving the right-hander and coming into him doesn't mean he should get labelled a "mystery" bowler. The architect turned cricketer spoke about it during an interview with Sportskeeda amidst talks of his dwindling stocks in the Indian set-up.
The T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE remains the most recent of Varun Chakravarthy's India assignment in the shortest format. The bowler maintained a healthy economy rate of 5.86 in his six outings from a debut in Sri Lanka in July last year but averaged 66 for his two wickets, failing to provide breakthroughs that a bowler of similar ilk Ajantha Mendis did in his heyday.
That the 31-year-old had a middling IPL 2022 - 6 wickets at 8.51 runs an over from 11 matches - wouldn't have helped, as the selectors witnessed the spinner's diminishing incisiveness or 'mystery' impact on the batters and based his non-selection on a worrying trend.
Varun Chakravarthy on 'mystery spinner' tag
"I’m basically a leggie who has other variations," Varun Chakravarthy told Sportskeeda. "I bowl a little quicker than the others. I didn’t label myself a ‘mystery spinner’; it just got stuck from the media. That’s how it happened. Yes, I’m someone who disguises his variations well but I don’t really consider myself a ‘mystery spinner’."
"It’s more about your mindset and believing in yourself that you can be one step ahead of the batters. You don’t need to constantly think about adding variations; you just need to think about how to outthink the batters. That’s one way you can be a step ahead of the curve. That’s what I tend to do," he added.
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Despite a poor IPL 2022, however, Chakravarthy has been one of KKR's most influential players since his IPL career began at the height of the pandemic. From the beginning of IPL 2020, the spinner has bagged 41 wickets in as many matches for KKR, carrying a healthy economy rate of 7.14.
Owing to two very fruitful campaigns for them, KKR retained Chakravarthy for the IPL 2022 at INR 8 crores. While the cricketer couldn't repay that with a strong season, he says his bond with the KKR management and ownership group is beyond lucrative contracts or immediate on-field results, stating that there is immense trust in the relationship.
"KKR is a wonderful team run by wonderful people," he said. "There are people like Venky Mysore, Abhishek Nayar, the owners - they’re all cricket lovers and enthusiasts who understand cricket at its core."
"They know what’s needed and what’s not needed; what has to be said and what shouldn’t be said. They back us also, of course. Wonderful team and wonderful management," he added.