Grabbing a wicket or two can stir all the right sorts of emotion in a bowler at any level of the game. But doing this at a top level provides a different gratification all together. A bowler wears the pride of his nation on his sleeve. To feature in the senior national team is perhaps the biggest goal for any professional bowler. Performing at first class level allows a bowler to knock on all the right doors of opportunity to further his cricketing career and turn this aspiration into reality. Whether it’s the ODI format or Test cricket, at first class level, a lot of eyes are on you! That being said, a bowler grabbing a hat-trick in the first class format, is a sight to behold. But claiming a 6-wicket haul is truly something else.
Rajasthan Royals’ Krishnappa Gowtham became the first ever Indian bowler to claim a hat-trick for India A. This was just half of the spectacular Gowtham show as he ended the match with a 6-wicket haul. It was Gowtham who struck at the beginning as he dismissed the opening batsman of West Indies A for 15 runs. We caught up with Gowtham after his wicket-taking spree to take us through his emotions and the key moments of his performance.
“When I claimed the hat-trick, I did not know that nobody had done that for India A. I wasn’t thinking too much about the hat-trick, in-fact I was just focusing on the process and I just wanted to bowl the ball in the right areas.”
Words from a true student of the game! It was clear that Gowtham builds his game around a systematic process. He believes in playing to his strengths and getting the basics right. What is even more amazing is his ability to disconnect from the pursuit of accolades. He instead, focuses on personal development and channeling that constructively to help his team where possible.
Gowtham was bowling well throughout the tour, but only managed to claim one wicket in the three occasions he got to bowl. He seemed to create his own luck by sticking to his game plan and not losing focus. To put things further into perspective, his hat-trick came at the end of the second innings as he dismissed all the 3-remaining tailenders.
“I was just focusing on the process and bowling to my strengths. I knew that if I kept bowling in good areas and kept bowling there, it would help me, and the wickets would fall, and they would fall in clusters. Otherwise I was just sticking to the basics.”
Behind every eye-catching bowler is a dedicated coach working with him, behind the scenes. Gowtham shares a special bond with his Royals’ coach; Sairaj Bahutule who he has worked with for two years.
“Sai Bhai has always been there, helping me with all aspects of my bowling. He has been telling me to do my stuff and not to worry about the results, as it is not in my hands. Whatever he tells me, it is absolutely right and it makes a lot of sense. He makes sure I am in a good space and don’t drift away too much from the game even if I am not playing. He ensures I hit the nets, if I bowl well, he is there and if I make any mistakes, he is there too. He always helps me get back to doing what I do best. I really appreciate the support from Sai Bhai.”
With a great performance, comes words of praise from fans and peers alike. Gowtham was humbled, happy and enjoyed his moment of success.
“The best congratulations message I received was from a fan who follows me on Instagram. He sent me a video of all the wickets which was very sweet of him. Krunal (Pandya) and Axar (Patel) did message as well in their own way and so did Archana. These 3 messages were very sweet.
Known also for his big-hitting capabilities, Gowtham has not been amongst the runs just yet. He however, is positive going into the next few games that he will contribute runs in addition to wickets.
“Yeah, I know I am due for runs, hopefully the next game we play, I will get some runs going.”
Gowtham is hitting a rich vein of form but what is even more commendable is his mental fortitude that seems to be stronger. As they say, a true athlete sees victory in his mind before it actually materializes. Gowtham’s performances will bring his name to the selectors’ discussion table. All he has to do, is continue bowling the way he has been and let the wickets and some of his runs do the talking for him.