Former Indian team selector Sarandeep Singh revealed that Krishnappa Gowtham was once touted as a replacement of R Ashwin in the Indian squad in case the off-spinner gets injured or fails to make it to the playing XI due to any other unforeseen reasons during his tenure.
But the availability of the other spin options like Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Kedar Jadhav, and Ravindra Jadeja forced the Indian selectors to prefer other spinners and the off-spinner Gowtham had to take a back seat despite having 1045 runs and 166 wickets in 42 first-class games to his name.
However, the Karnataka all-rounder is yet to make his debut for India, but turned many heads with his performances in the domestic cricket and IPL and most recently made headlines after becoming the most-expensive uncapped Indian cricketer in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Gowtham is picked by Chennai Super King (CSK) for a staggering amount of INR 9.25 crore during the recent IPL auction for IPL 2021 in Chennai last week and Sarandeep was happy that the CSK bought the all-rounder while praising the cricketer for his skills and his consistency.
Sarandeep Singh told Sportskeeda: “If you see his domestic record, he has been performing all the time. He has been picked for India A for the last 2-3 years and has been doing consistently well. In fact, in case Ravichandran Ashwin was to get injured or was unfit, we were looking at K Gowtham as a back-up spinner. He was in our minds for ODIs and T20Is as well.”
On being asked why Gowtham never donned the Indian colors, former national selector replied the all-rounder was just unlucky during his tenure as India had a plethora of spin options then.
He added, “With Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal as well as the all-around brilliance of Ravindra Jadeja, we were blessed with excess options. Even Kedar Jadhav was chipping in with the ball and picking up a few wickets. That’s why we couldn’t pick K Gowtham in the Indian team. So, he deserves what he has got.”
The 41-year-old was surprised to see the IPL franchises releasing Gowtham – first Rajasthan Royals picked him for INR 6.2 crore at the 2018 auction, but released after one season, and then they traded the off-spinner to Punjab Kings ahead of IPL 2020 and eventually released him ahead of IPL 2021 auction.
Singh signed off by saying, “K Gowtham also did very well for Rajasthan Royals earlier. I don’t know why they let him go. He can bat also and bowl also. He was actually pretty good for them. I don’t understand why some franchises release decent players. Last season, he was injured so he couldn’t play many games for Punjab. He deserves this chance.”