Gowtham ready for big test

Mumbai Indians pick Karnataka off-spinner for Rs 2 crore

Gowtham ready for big test

With a string of consistent performances at the domestic level, Karnataka’s K Gowtham was expected to attract attention from the franchises in the IPL auction on Monday.

The off-spinner, who made a remarkable return to the Karnataka side after being on the sidelines for three seasons, was picked by Mumbai Indians for Rs 2 crore –– a whopping 20 times his base price of Rs 10 lakh.

The 28-year-old was elated to have got the chance to be a part of the league and share the dressing room with some of the popular names in the game.

“It’s a great feeling to be alongside greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh. I was watching the auction and was extremely happy when Mumbai Indians picked me. I am thankful to the management for having given me this opportunity and I am proud to be part of such a team,” said Gowtham.

Apart from his wicket-taking abilities, Gowtham’s breezy knocks with the bat made him a good T20 prospect. The right-hander’s quickfire 68-ball 74 for India ‘A’ against Australians on Sunday couldn’t have come at a better time.

“When I came out to bat against Australia, I didn’t hold myself back. I knew about my batting skills and I wanted to give the best I could. As far as my bowling is concerned, after the Ranji Trophy, I trained on bowling lengths that suit T20 cricket and I am glad my efforts paid off,” he offered.

Gowtham said he was looking forward to interacting and learning from his childhood idol Harbhajan and West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard. “It’s all about handling high-pressure situations in IPL and I want to learn how to do it from seniors like Harbhajan and Pollard. I am going to talk with them a lot and learn how they perform well at this level.”

Mumbai Indians co-owner Akash Ambani praised Gowtham’s leadership qualities. “Everyone knows he’s an off-spinner and he can be a ‘pinchy’ (pinch-hitter). More than anything we were looking for leaders and he will be an asset on the field. He knows what he can do with the ball but more than that he’s a leader,” Ambani noted.

Responding to Ambani’s opinion, Gowtham said he has always been a guide to youngsters. “During the Mumbai Indians selection trial, I treated everyone equally. I like to be a team man and I don’t hesitate to offer inputs to players who come to me,” he said.

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