Krishnapa Gotham received the nickname “Bhajji” from his teammates in his early years and he adored Ravichandran Ashvin’s philosophy in cricket, but comprehensive skills, including “Carrom ball”, are his personalized version.
Gowtham is among the six uncovered players selected for India’s white ball tour of Sri Lanka, which includes three ODIs and three T-20 matches between July 13 and 25.
“You’ve been living a dream for years and now it’s come true and you can’t be happier,” was Gotham’s first reaction when PTI caught up with him.
A regular performer for the dreaded Karnataka country, Gowtham hit the headlines when Chennai Super Kings broke into the bank to win his services after an intense bidding war and now at 32, the unstable station wagon has received its first call in India.
“As a start in my career, I imitated Bhajji Paa (Harbhajan Singh) and my teammates called me Bhajji,” Gowtham recalled during the interaction.
So like Bhajji, did he also doosra bowl?
“No, I’m not falling prematurely, but I’m serving the ball of carrom,” replied Gotham, who has 166 first-class, 70-list A and 42 T20 cartridges.
Did he develop the carrom ball watching Ravichandran Ashwin’s best performance?
“I developed it myself. If you have to play at the highest level, you have to develop skills on your own. In my younger days, I was also a coach from Erapalli Prasanna, sir.
“Obviously you look at a legend like Ashwin. I love Ashwin’s thinking and approach to the game,” the restrained cricket replied.
Like his Karnataka teammates, who continue to play for India, Gotham also speaks very clearly, although his answers are short and accurate.
“I didn’t have the pressure to enter the IPL. Absolutely not. In a tournament like the IPL, you have to step back and not worry about the game. You play the game, not the price,” he was clear in his response.
From “Captain Cool” Mahendra Singh Doni the most valuable advice he received was to “enjoy his game”, something the former captain of India says to all his teenagers.
“Mahi bhai had one key piece of advice. You have to be in the present and enjoy the game. He told me to stick to my natural game and do it the way I know best.”
Gowtham also feels enriched after being part of the senior Indian team during the home series against England earlier this year. He was one of the net bowlers during a series of four tests.
“It’s always good to bowl in front of the best in the country and you can learn a lot. It was obviously a great experience to be in the Indian squad and bowling to quality players.”
With 12 shots with five wickets in first-class cricket, in addition to the impressive shots of 141 plus (50 over) and nearly 160 (T20) in the form of a white ball, Gowtham’s rise can be attributed to the fact that he plays for one of the most the best local teams, Karnataka.
“It really helped that I was part of a very strong Karnataka unit. It’s not just about strength, but also the fact that it is a very happy unit.
“We all enjoy each other’s company, which I’ve always looked forward to, and it’s a privilege,” Gottham said of the team, which has had Manish Pandi,, KL Rahul, Karun Nair and Prasid Krishna, who make up the national team.
The director of the National Cricket Academy, Rahul Dravid, is about to travel with the Indian White Ball team as its head coach and, having played for India A under the “Wall”, Gotham said his job will certainly be facilitated by his presence.
“If you played in India A, you are aware of how Rahul Sir is as a coach and what he would expect from you as a player. So it gives you a better chance to prepare well for the tour when you used to play under him. It will be a great learning experience, “he signed.