Karnataka’s off spinning all-rounder Gowtham Krishnappa was the first purchase of the Rajasthan Royals bidding team on day two of the IPL 2018 auction, as they paid out 6.20 crore for him. Given that his base price was 20 lakh, the 29-year-old may have been pleasantly surprised by the figure, but fans shouldn’t be surprised if he quite literally turns out to be worth every rupee. Gowtham has played 27 T20 matches. With the bat he has scored 310 runs at an average of 16.31. That might not seem high, but he has a reputation of being able to score runs from ball one – his strike rate is an impressive 159.79. In the shortest format of the game he has secured 20 wickets at an average of 28.95 with an economy rate of 7.06.
Krishnappa’s cricket career began when he was selected for the under-15 zonal tournament in Bangalore. The youngster caught the attention as he ended the competition as the second-highest wicket-taker. At the time his action had a striking resemblance to that of Harbhajan Singh. However he has now slowed down his approach to the crease, unlike the Turbanator. Gowtham received an opportunity to bowl at an Australian side touring India way back in 2008, just because his action was similar to that of Harbhajan! He played his first Ranji Trophy game for Karnataka in Autumn 2012, against Bengal, and picked up a couple of wickets. In the 2016–17 Ranji Trophy season, Gowtham found his feet and picked up two consecutive five-wicket hauls, against Delhi and Assam, helping his team win both the games. Against Assam he returned his career-best figures of 7/108. Krishnappa made his List A debut for Karnataka in the 2016–17 Vijay Hazare Trophy in February 2017. Eight months later he scored his maiden first-class century, batting for Karnataka against Assam in the 2017–18 Ranji Trophy. While his action is no longer quite so Harbhajan- like, he certainly derives his inspiration from the legendary Indian spinner. Gowtham can’t bowl the doosra like Harbhajan, but he has a wide variety of other balls to make up for it. Expect him to turn a few heads as well as a few balls in the 2018 IPL!