The Indian cricket board announced squads for the limited-overs and Test series Down Under on Monday with a few inclusions which caught attention.
It was the first assignment for the Sunil Joshi-led panel and they made their intentions clear with the selection.
Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant faced the limited-overs snub. He will travel with the team as the back-up keeper behind veteran Wriddhiman Saha. Pant batted brilliantly when India toured Australia last but his limited-overs axe comes as a stinging blow.
The selection has also made a few things clear - KL Rahul is being considered as the wicket-keeper batsman for the ODIs while Sanju Samson will lead the slot in the shortest format. It will be the series to prove for Samson as a good performance can earn him the 2021 World Cup ticket.
Fast bowler Navdeep Saini, at the back of his brilliance in the IPL 2020, earned a call-up across formats. But Tamil Nadu leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy has the stand-out story among all as he earned a maiden call-up in the T20 squad.
Who is this Chakravarthy?
Chakravarthys spell their surname differently and it often causes confusion but it was his five-wicket haul taking spell in the IPL 2020 which made all the difference and earned him a spot - many didn't anticipate of.
India legend Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh called him 'India material' while Sachin Tendulkar refers to him as someone who "wasn't shaken under pressure".
Chakravarthy has looked like someone with a calm demeanor, regardless of the circumstances, throughout the IPL 2020. He knows his job and has variations in his kitty to execute his plan. But his story is no ordinary.
Cricket is played in every nook and corner of India. There are many who break into the national team at a young age. But the architect both on and off the field had a different story - he is a late bloomer - and might go on to have a fine career like Misbah-ul-Haq did.
Chakravarthy started his career in professional cricket as a wicket-keeper. But his plans to succeed were dashed at an early age of 17 as things did not go his way.
The Tamil Nadu lad left his first love to pursue a career in architecture. It was a five-year course in Chennai but the freelancing opportunities he bagged with the degree failed to make ends meet.
It could be destiny but that is when he decided to steer his way back to cricket and started all over again as a bowling all-rounder in tennis ball tournaments. But there came the twist of his life which ultimately brought his hidden potential to the fore. A knee injury forced him to turn to spin and he looks set to make history.
The Bidar-born player had a poor outing in the IPL last year even though he was fetched at a sum which justifies his potential. But the ongoing season has shown his actual capabilities.
Chakravarthy has overshadowed the likes of premier India spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the KKR side. Australian off-spinner Chris Green might end up taking some lessons from the man of the moment. Moreover, the tour Down Under could well set the tone for a talented Chakravarthy to succeed as a top-notch leg spinner for the national team.
All thanks to the knee injury!
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