There was no surprise bigger than Varun Chakravarthy in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction conducted at Jaipur on Tuesday.
Along with Jaydev Unadkat, Chakravarthy fetched the joint-highest sum in Tuesday’s auction with Kings XI Punjab shelling out $1.2 million for his services.
It completed an extraordinary turnaround for the mystery spinner who entered the auction with a base price of only $28,000. Just three years ago, the Tamil Nadu man was working for an architectural firm after giving up cricket at the age of 18.
Having found professional cricketing opportunities hard to come by, the now 27-year-old packed off his cricket kit to undertake a five-year course in architecture. However, cricket came calling once again for Chakravarthy at the age of 25 after he grew disillusioned with life in the corporate sector.
“I don’t know, I just built up so much pressure inside me and it blasted… I just quit. I walked in and right away said I want to stop working and I came back,” he told CricketNext about his decision to return to the sport.
“I told my parents that my mind was not there, I just wasn’t able to do it. They understood and supported me, although I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I dusted off my old kit bag which I hadn’t used for six years. I didn’t know anything else. I had to take up cricket again,” he continued.
In TNPL 2018:
Wickets – 9
Best – 3/16
Economy – 4.70 🙏
In Vijay Hazare 2018/19:
Wickets – 22
Best – 5/38
Average – 16.68
S/R – 23.63 🙏
Bought by Kings XI Punjab for 8.4 Cr INR. #IPLAuction2019 #IPLAuction
— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) December 18, 2018
It was the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) which catapulted Chakravarthy back into the limelight after he picked up nine wickets at an economy-rate of less than five for Siechem Madurai Panthers.
He continued that good form by finishing as the second highest wicket-taker in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy and also made his Ranji Trophy debut for Tamil Nadu recently.
Even then, Chakravarthy did not expect to fetch such a lucrative sum in the IPL auction in his wildest dreams.
“I was following the auction and just saying ‘kadavule, kadavule’ (god, god) as the bidding went on. I thought the price was a bit too much, I didn’t expect it. I was thinking they’ll take me for my base price. I swear I was expecting only to be taken at the base price!” he revealed.
His fairytale turnaround now complete, Chakravarthy will now face the pressure of justifying his huge price tag when the IPL gets underway next year.