His journey has been a rollercoaster ride, but now, this talented cricketer is gearing up to take on his new role with gusto. Karnataka Ranji player Krishnappa Gowtham made headlines when he was bought for a whopping `2 crores by the Mumbai Indians. The IPL debutante, who’s now training in Mumbai, takes time out to chat with us…
Talking about his surprise bid, he says, “It felt really good. I was expecting to get picked by a team, but I didn’t expect this amount.” Having proved his mettle in the Ranji season with a career-best performance, and also displaying his batting prowess in the Ind-Aus warm-up game in the city, does he feel extra pressure before the IPL? “I’m more excited than nervous and I’m up for any kind of challenge. I had a decent Ranji and T20 season. Even though I couldn’t bowl against Australia due to a small injury, I did decently with the bat. I got a lot of confidence from there,” shares the all-rounder.
As he’s already started training with his MI teammates, how has the interaction with them been so far? “I’ve made a lot of friends here; it doesn’t feel like my first IPL. Everyone’s friendly — I’m getting to meet new people with different mentalities. Since a lot of them are from the same age group and play the Ranji Trophy, we all know something about each other,” reveals Gowtham, who’s thrilled about having three of his Karnataka mates in his team.
This gritty cricketer took to the sport when he was 15 and played for the school team. A medium pacer back then, he started bowling like his idol Harbhajan Singh and was even called ‘Bhajji’ in the local circles. “I went for the under-15 selection and got picked for the zonal team. From there on, I became an off spinner who could bat a bit. The same year, I was part of the state under-15 team and then there was no looking back,” he says.
However, Gowtham had to tread quite a rocky path for a while. He had to wait for three whole years before he got called back to the Karnataka team. “I took it positively and never wasted any time during that period. It made me better- both training-wise and also as a person. I became more humble and grounded. It made me realise that I’ve to work on my mental and physical strength,” says the comeback boy, who’s looking forward to meeting Sachin Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard and Mahela Jayawardane.
As the conversation turns towards his family, he says, “They knew my struggle and have always supported me. I work for a bank and I’ve received tremendous support from them too — they gave me the liberty to practice whenever I wanted to. I’ve been blessed.”