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Varun Chakravarthy – Kolkata’s Mystery Man

The emergence of Varun Chakravarthy as one of the Indian T20 League’s leading bowlers is testament to the power of dreams. Unable to break into age-group teams in Tamil Nadu during his teenage years, when he played mostly as a wicketkeeper-batter, Chakravarthy decided to concentrate on his education. Having graduated as an architect, he flirted with league cricket in Chennai before settling down to a job that involved everything from surveying to drafting building plans.

But the cricket bug bit him again, and having tried his hand at medium pace earlier, Chakravarthy decided that his best chance lay in reinventing himself as a mystery bowler in the Ajantha Mendis mold. He was a star during the Tamil Nadu T20 League in 2018, getting rave reviews from the likes of Mike Hussey and impressed everyone during net stints with Chennai and Kolkata.

But no one, least of all him, was expecting an Indian T20 League franchise to shell out ₹8.4 crore for his services as Punjab did in the auction before the 2019 season. He played just one game, though, with Sunil Narine smashing him for 25 runs in an over before a broken finger ended his season.

That might have been that but Dinesh Karthik, who he had idolized as a wannabe wicketkeeper-batter, played a big part in convincing Kolkata to buy him for ₹4 crore in 2019. This time Chakravarthy grabbed the opportunity with both hands, finishing as Team Kolkata’s leading wicket taker when the league was moved to the UAE for the 2020 season.

Those displays earned the attention of India’s selectors but injuries and poor fitness cost him chances to debut against Australia and England. After contracting Covid midway through the 2021 season, he came back for the second leg in the UAE, re-energized by his selection in India’s T20 World Cup squad. There was no dip in his performance either. Though he didn’t run through sides, his accuracy played a huge part in the resurgence that took Kolkata from a stage where they had won just 2 games and lost 5 to the tournament’s final, their first appearance in the latter stages since 2018. His consistent performance earned him a place on the Indian team for the 2021 T20 World Cup. The trust the Kolkata team have on Chakraborty is proven by the fact that the team retained the mystery spinner for ₹8 crores for the 2022 season.

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Varun Chakravarthy’s Personal Details

    • Name
    • :
    • Varun Chakravarthy Vinod
    • Date of Birth
    • :
    • 29th August 1991
    • Birthplace
    • :
    • Bidar, Karnataka
    • Height
    • :
    • 5′9″
    • Bowling Style
    • :
    • Right-arm leg-break googly
    • Playing Role
    • :
    • Bowler
    • Current Team
    • :
    • India National Cricket Team, Kolkata team
    • Jersey Number
    • :
    • 29

Varun Chakravarthy's Current Rankings

Varun Chakravarthy Career Summary

    • Format
    • M
    • Inn
    • Wickets
    • Best Bowling
    • Avg
    • SR
    • ER
    • T20I
    • 6
    • 6
    • 2
    • 1/18 vs. SL
    • 66.00
    • 67.50
    • 5.87

Varun Chakravarthy - Key Skills and Strengths

Varun claims to bowl seven variations, including the googly, top spinner and a slider employed to try and york the batters. Chakravarthy hasn’t been a prolific wicket taker but he has proved to be extremely accurate and difficult to get away with. In the Indian T20 League, as was the case in the Tamil Nadu T20 League where he made his name, he has often been called on to bowl both in the Power Play and at the end of an innings, when batters usually look to go big. The variations he has allow him to confuse batters a little and make it harder to hit him out of the attack.

Varun Chakravarthy’s Indian T20 League Journey

Coming into the Indian T20 League with a price tag of ₹8.4 crore, there was no way Chakravarthy could avoid the spotlight when he made his debut for Punjab in 2019. It was also his bad luck that he ran into another mystery spinner who can hit the ball a long way. Sunil Narine took 25 runs off one Chakravarthy over, and a broken finger then ended the latter’s season. Luckily for him, Kolkata, whom he had impressed in the nets in 2018, took a chance on him for the 2020 season. He justified the ₹4-crore gamble with 17 wickets in 13 matches as the team narrowly missed the play-offs. There was no let-up in 2021 either as he proved even harder to hit. Again, he was Kolkata’s leading wicket taker in the league phase as they stormed into the play-offs by winning 5 of their last 7 matches.

Here are some of Chakravarthy’s biggest achievements in the Indian T20 League:

  • With 17 wickets, Varun was the highest wicket taker for Kolkata in the 2020 season.

  • Of those who bowled more than 50 overs, Chakravarthy’s economy rate of 6.84 was the fifth-best for the 2020 season.

  • In 2021, Chakravarthy had the second-best economy rate (6.40) among those who had bowled at least 30 overs.

  • Only 5 bowlers delivered more dot balls than Chakravarthy’s 137 during the 2021 India T20 League season.

    • Format
    • M
    • Wickets
    • Best Bowling
    • Avg
    • SR
    • ER
    • Indian T20 League
    • 45
    • 47
    • 5/20 vs. Delhi
    • 26.36
    • 21.91
    • 7.22

Varun Chakravarthy: FAQs

Which bowler did Chakravarthy idolize and end up playing alongside?

R Ashwin, who first caught the eye with his carrom balls in the Indian T20 League a decade ago. Chakravarthy became Ashwin’s teammate on the Punjab team, though he only played one game that season.

Which hero’s dismissal did Chakravarthy visualize months before they played?

MS Dhoni, who he used to watch from the stands and who he then bowled to in the Chennai nets, was deceived by a Chakravarthy googly and got bowled out, in the Kolkata vs. Chennai match in 2020.

What was Chakravarthy’s playing role as a teenager?

Chakravarthy first tried to make the grade as a wicketkeeper-batter but never found favor with age-group selectors.

Is Varun Chakravarthy married?

Yes, he married Neha Khedekar in Chennai in December 2020.

What did Chakravarthy do after giving up cricket in his late teens?

He studied architecture and then worked at a company as an architect for a couple of years before deciding to reinvent himself as a mystery bowler.

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