Redemption after waging a tough battle

From being the last pick at the KPL auction to returning to the State squad, Beerala has scripted a remarkable turnaround

It was quite understandable as the right-hander had depicted a success story in the Karnataka Premier League, and entered the State team after a gap of more than five years.

When Bijapur Bulls bought Beerala for a low price during the KPL auction, it seemed more out of compulsion than of genuine interest. But the purchase proved highly profitable for them as Beerala cracked four fifties, leading Bulls’ march into the semis along with a rambunctious Gaurav Dhiman.

“I was not even wanted in the auction, probably, and I was forced into the team. See where it ended, getting me back into the Karnataka team,” Beerala said with pride ringining in his voice. “You know, the KPL peformance really mattered for me. I got runs against guys who have been playing for Karnataka. The feeling that I can score runs against the State players was a boost for me,” he added.

However, Beerala had to mull deeply before arriving at the decision of playing in the KPL and it proved the right move. “To be honest, after the humiliation I suffered during the auction I really did not want to play in the KPL. Then I spoke with a few people — some connected with cricket and a few of my close friends.

“They advised me against backing off. They said ‘you go out and enjoy your game’ and that’s what I did. Now, I just wanted to play as many matches I can, and hopefully I will have a good domestic season,” he detailed. Beerala said he received only positive vibes from the Bulls and the State dressing room on his return.

At first it was bit strange to enter the dressing room with a lot of youngsters. As the days went on, I felt nice about the fact that people want me here and I am getting appreciated. Then there was the travelling with Karnataka team to Visakhapatnam for the South Zone T20 tournament. Boarding the flight with the State players, and it happened after a long time. I can’t describe that feeling Hope these days keep going.”
The only sore point in his otherwise impeccable run in the KPL was an unsavoury episode involving his skipper Sudhindra Shinde a day before the semifinals against Belagavi Panthers.

“No, it did not take our focus away. Sudhi and I go back 16 years. That was just one moment of madness and we had sorted it out then itself. You might have seen us bat together in the semis, immediately after it, and there was no bad blood between us. It was not that incident, but a below par batting took the game away from us.” The mellowness in his words percolated into his batting as well in the KPL. The gun-slinging Beerala of old transformed into a more rounded batsman.

Even the half-centuries he scored in the KPL were not exactly compiled brutally, but they were rather meticulously constructed efforts with the needs of the situation in mind. Beerala said that awareness of circumstances developed in him with the age.

“Definitely the experience matters. I won’t say that T20 belongs to just youngsters. A young guy may not have played that many matches, I mean, they are a bit raw. But experienced players know when to accelerate and when to take chances against bowlers. So, blending youth with experience is really important.

“I would like to think I have matured as a batsman. As a youngster you may not have much fear of anything, but at times that also might lead to some stupidity. Earlier I used to try to convert good balls and make a shot out of it, now I don’t do it because I know I will get a few bad balls. I take calculated risks now than just blind aggression.”
Does he feels the awareness set into him a tad late, causing the lose of some precious years?

“Yes, I am disappointed at the lost years. But the past is best forgotten. I am thankful to a lot of people who helped me in tough times like my family, Indian Oil, KSCA, who give me a chance to play in the KPL, my sponsors SG, Sunil Gavasakr and GRV. As a batsman, I should have been a bit more selective. I would not have changed so many things, but yes, certain things would have been done better.” Like life, cricket too offers chances to make amends and, hopefully, this is Beerala’s time.

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