Off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham has become the latest inclusion in the Kings XI Punjab side and will be a part of the squad ahead of the 2020 VIVO Indian Premier League, the franchise can confirm.
Previously a member of the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, the latter with whom he has played all his 22 IPL matches, Gowtham has picked up 12 wickets in the tournament and can be handy with the bat as well and is backed by Kings XI Punjab's Director of Cricket Operations and Head Coach Anil Kumble.
"I am very thankful to the Kings XI Punjab franchise for giving me an opportunity to be a part of the team," Gowtham told KXIP.in. "With Anil sir as the coach, it'd be great to work with him. It'll be the first time I'll be working with him in an actual set up."
He plays for Karnataka in domestic cricket and has 132 wickets and one century in 36 First-Class matches, 67 scalps in 45 List A games and 35 wickets in 53 T20 appearances.
"I am looking forward to give my 100 per cent and give my best," he said. "Having Karnataka cricketers in the side adds an extra bit. There'll be a lot of other things as well; when we play for a different franchise, it's a different ball game altogether.
"You need to know how the set up works, how the franchise is. They (Karnataka mates KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair) have been a part of the franchise for the past two years, so it'll be easier for me to commit, know how it is and get used to it very fast."
Not just a bowler
Gowtham can bat as well. One of his most memorable performances in the IPL came in 2018 against the Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur and it came with the bat.
With 28 runs needed in two overs, he got off the mark with a six, smashing David Willey. In the fifth ball of the over, he hammered another maximum over long-off before getting out in the next delivery bringing the equation to 12 in the final over. The Royals went on to win the match, leaving Gowtham with a day to remember.
"These kind of games you never forget," he said referring to his 13 runs that crucially came from just four balls.
His 11-ball 33* earlier in the season against Mumbai Indians was also an unforgettable innings. With 43 needed in the last three overs and the tail nearly exposed, he got into the act right away hitting a six and a four off a Mustafizur Rahman over. In the subsequent over from Jasprit Bumrah, his two fours and Jofra Archer's boundary milked 18 runs leaving 10 needed in the final over.
Archer was dismissed in the first ball off the final over by Hardik Pandya. Gowtham, nevertheless, held his nerve and saw the third-man boundary for a four. The next was a dot ball, needing six off the final three deliveries. But Gowtham managed to pull one over the mid-wicket boundary for a six to end the match in style, winning the Royals a game from looked like certain defeat.
His T20 exploits have also seen him smash the fastest ton (39b) and the highest score in the Karnataka Premier League with a 54-ball 134 (7x4s, 13x6s) earlier this year and then went on to pick up 8/15 in his four overs when he came out to bowl later for Ballari Tuskers to record the best bowling figures in the format of the game.
The all-round performance was, as he described, a 'once-in-a-lifetime' match.
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