CHENNAI: C Varun’s first stint in the IPL — with Kings XI Punjab in 2019 — lasted just one match where he went for 25 runs in his very first over and finished with figures of 1 for 35 against Kolkata Knight Riders.
A finger fracture soon ruled him out of the tournament. To make matters worse, a shoulder injury saw him miss the Tamil Nadu Premier League last year. Varun’s lack of match practice didn’t come into the picture at the IPL auctions in December as KKR bought him for Rs 4 crore. The leg-spinner is now repaying the faith shown by the franchise as he is fast becoming KKR’s go-to man to bag key wickets in this edition of the IPL.
From 3 games for KKR so far, the architect-turned-cricketer has taken 4 wickets at an economy of 8.25. In the first two matches, Varun had returned with figures of 1-25 and 2-25 against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals respectively, before going for 1-49 against Delhi Capitals. His economy may be on the higher side, but Varun has got the knack of netting the big fishes — be it SRH’s David Warner, Delhi’s Shikhar Dhawan or the in-form Rahul Tewatia of RR. Ahead of the IPL, the 29-year-old worked on maintaining his line and length in the powerplay overs. “There were two key aspects I laid emphasis on in the last few months. I focused a lot on bowling in the powerplay as they are a crucial aspect in this format of the game. To top that, I have worked hard on my fitness,” Varun told TOI on Monday.
Right after being picked by KKR last year, the TN spinner had revealed how he was looking forward to bowling alongside fellow mystery spinner Sunil Narine. “There is so much to learn from him as he has been immensely successful over the years for KKR. It will be a great experience watching him from close quarters,” he had said.
In the months preceding the lockdown, Varun had trained at the KKR academy in Mumbai. He also turned up for DY Patil ‘A’ side in the DY Patil T20 competition in February-March this year. “Getting to train at the KKR academy and also play a few matches at the DY Patil tournament was a big confidence booster for me,” he said. KKR will be banking on Varun to deliver the goods when they play Chennai Super Kings next on Wednesday.

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