Karnataka's bowling all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham, who was picked by Mumbai Indians for R2 crore, is eager to learn a few things from his role model
India 'A' all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham returns after his 74-run knock against Australia in the three-day match at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday. Pic/SURESH KARKERA
Bangalore: Even before auctioneer Richard Madley could complete introducing Ben Stokes, Akash Ambani could be seen holding his bid placard up, ready to grab one of the world's leading all-rounders. The base price of Rs 2 crore was to be no deterrent.
But once the Rs 10 crore mark had been breached the young man gave up, Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) winning that battle A somewhat similar scene was played out when Stokes' fellow Englishman Tymal Mills entered the fray. This time, it was Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who frustrated the Mumbai Indians' efforts, but both Akash and Nita Ambani didn't appear too disappointed at the two big misses or if they were, they hid it well.
"In an auction there's no place for disappointments. We are happy with the players we got. We always have our back up plans in any case," said Akash.
True to their policy of picking newcomers and lesser-known Indian talents, a factor Nita stressed on, MI immediately switched their focus. First they picked up 21-year-old West Indies wicket-keeper batsman Nicolas Pooran at his base price of Rs 30 lakh. Then they went after spinners Karan Sharma and Karnataka's K Gowtham. Karan has figured in the IPL regularly, but it was a first for Gowtham, coming off an impressive first-class season. MI had to stave off stiff challenges for both but stayed the course to bag Karan for Rs 3.2 crore (base price Rs 30 lakh) and Gowtham for Rs 2 crore (base price Rs 10 lakh). Whether either of the two will get in the XI is to be seen but as MI have shown with their support staff too, they believe in covering all bases.
"I watched the proceedings at home," said Gowtham, no mug with the bat but whose main vocation is off-spin. "I wasn't nervous in the morning and went about my routine which included a light workout. But as the auction began I was nervous because this was the first time I was going under the hammer in the IPL. I'm looking forward to working with and learning from Harbhajan Singh who is my role model," added Gowtham.
Johnson back for MI
MI welcomed back veteran quick Mitchell Johnson. "We are happy to have him (Johnson) back, we won with in 2013," said Nita. They also got lucky with Sri Lankan Asela Gunarathna, the batsman who only on Sunday blasted his side to a T20 International win over Australia. They bid the base price of Rs 30 lakh and found no competitors, bringing a big smile onto new coach Mahela Jayawardena's demeanor.
The real competition though starts on April 5 when the 10th edition of the IPL kicks off in Hyderabad.