IPL 2015 news February 16, 2015

KC Cariappa: KKR's new unknown spinner

From a maiden stint in the Karnataka Premier League to being purchased for an astonishing amount in the IPL 2015 auction, KC Cariappa has had a few interesting months
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KC Cariappa: "I am very excited. But how this kind of thing suddenly happened I have no idea" © Kolkata Knight Riders

Who is KC Cariappa? That was the first question nearly everyone would have asked once Cariappa was bought by defending IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders for an astonishing sum of Rs 2.4 crore ($400,000), 24 times his base price.

Konganda Charamanna Cariappa is a 20-year-old legspinner from Coorg in Karnataka. Curiously both the BCCI and the Karnataka State Cricket Association had him listed as an off-break bowler. However, Cariappa, known as Carri to his team-mates, confirmed he is primarily a legspinner with a grip that allows him to bowl off breaks and leg breaks.

At 5 feet 11 inches, Cariappa is tall for a spinner and bowls with an orthodox round-arm action. The leg break is his stock ball, and he has variations like the googly and the faster one. His other strength, that could make it difficult for batsmen to read him, is his ability to bowl off-spinners without changing the grip.

Like many keen and talented cricketers in India, Cariappa started performing in tennis-ball cricket. "I was a Sachin fan. But in my bowling I did not copy anyone. I would bowl with my three-finger grip. My coaches found that interesting and asked me to focus on my bowling," Cariappa said.

Knight Riders have always shown an interest in spinners with unusual actions, picking West Indies offspinner Sunil Narine, Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake and Indian chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav.

For Cariappa, the breakthrough with Knight Riders came through an association with AR Srikkanth, who is the team analyst for Knight Riders and Bijapur Bulls, the franchise Cariappa represents in the Karnataka Premier League, which is a state-level, franchise-based Twenty20 league. In his first KPL season last year, Cariappa bowled impressively and finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 11 dismissals. His performances attracted attention from a few IPL team scouts.

Cariappa was asked to give a trial during the Knight Riders camp in Hyderabad last September before the Champions League Twenty20.

"I was very nervous because it was the first time I was asked to bowl against an IPL team," Cariappa told ESPNcricinfo. The spinner said he did not bowl anything special: "Nothing like that, I just bowled well."

His bowling must have impressed Knight Riders who asked him to enter the auction. Gautam Gambhir, the team captain and a good player of spin, had failed to read Cariappa consistently and told the team management about this, helping the legspinner's case.

The dramatic rise in his bidding, as Knight Riders contested fiercely with Delhi Daredevils, was not lost on Cariappa who was following the auction, but he never expected the price for which he was eventually bought.

"I am very excited. But how this kind of thing suddenly happened I have no idea," he said. "I thought they were interested in me so I would go for my base price of Rs 10 lakhs. I was not sure about Delhi also bidding."

The last six months have opened up a lot of options for Cariappa. Immediately after the KPL, the Karnataka selectors decided to include him in the 30 probables for the Ranji Trophy. According to one of the selectors, when the panel saw him bowl in the local league tournaments, they failed to read his hand.

"Even we thought he was an offspinner to begin with. He is very much in the Sunil Narine league in terms of his action. He has the carrom ball, too which is deceptive. It was this X-factor that prompted us to pick him in the probables," the selector said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on February 17, 2015, 18:46 GMT

    This name reminds me of a famous Indian army chief, General Cariappa! If this young man is half as capable as that General, he will be a great find! Kudos to Gambhir for supporting one with no "Godfather"- who did not even make the Karnatakka squad & spotting a telent purely on his gut feeling & potential! In my opinion all these so called "mystery" bowlers with excellent jugglery of fingers to impart spin, had to be extremely accurate to succeed. Examples of such success date back to Sonny Ramadhin & Alan Ivorson. Good luck Cariappa- hope you justify Gambhir's faith in you!

  • Quichang on February 17, 2015, 15:48 GMT

    Many spinners in India already and very few pace bowlers.

  • Naresh on February 17, 2015, 10:18 GMT

    Lately we have seen Purkayastha also joining the spin line. This bodes well for the future. Ashwin just lately has added legspin to his repertoire. This is great that Ashwin has evolved with the game after realizing that more is needed in the WC to survive. On the pace front two Andhra bowlers Siva Kumar and Vijaykumar have been taking wickets in Ranji matches leading to Andhra being the surprise team. High up the Ranji wicket taker list is Rishi Dhawan with basant Mohanty.

  • Naresh on February 17, 2015, 9:28 GMT

    Wow!!! Another enters the cricketing world. Time will tell where this 20 year old will go. A pity he missed the next U19 WC.

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2015, 4:45 GMT

    The Indian team is desperate to fine a quality / mystery spinner. But the problem is that most of these 'mystery'ous guys get demystified in some time ... Mendis or even Narine now is not able to get the 'mystery' variations. It is a matter of time ... my concern is that this guy will be understood by all batsmen and Indian team will lose a chance to get a mystery spinner even though for short time

  • Rama on February 16, 2015, 23:31 GMT

    Whoever is advising RCB should be fired! When KKR can find talent in RCB's backyard what on earth is RCB doing? Karnataka won 4 domestic tournaments in the past year and not one Karnataka player plays for RCB!

    RCB should get a farm system in Mysore, Belgaum or even Mangalore to unearth just like team Karnataka.

    Well the RCB owner is possibly looking for flamboyant guys like him!

  • Ashok on February 16, 2015, 21:09 GMT

    I hope KC Cariappa finds a home in a Ranji side that is on the upswing. Karnataka is too full (& quite good right now). Best he can be in as a backup to Shreyas Gopal. I think the best fit for him is as the spin option in the Kaif-led Andhra side. Their medium fast bowling options are quite good and Kariappa will be a good fit as the premier spinner (assuming he can be one).

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2015, 18:36 GMT

    Thank god KC didn't have coaches forcing him to make up his mind on whether he wants to bowl leg or off spinner.

  • Rohan on February 16, 2015, 18:26 GMT

    hopefully he has a legal action, lets hope we will get our share of mystery spiner.....

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2015, 17:22 GMT

    I think we have our own Sunil Narine :)

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