The Shikhar Dhawan-led side has a mix of young and experienced players who will be kicking off the series under ‘coach’ Rahul Dravid.
India all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham, who is one of the six uncapped players in the team, is excited about his reunion with Dravid.
Gowtham has already played under Dravid’s tutelage in the India A team and has picked the legendary batsman’s brain during camps at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
“Rahul sir (Dravid) was my India A coach. I am excited to play under him again. During my India A days, whenever I was in doubt, I used to walk up to him and ask him anything. Rahul sir is open to everything. He has solutions for everything. Not just India A, I have spent a lot of time at NCA with him also. He is just one call away to help,” Gowtham told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
“I am excited about my reunion with a legend like him (Dravid). It’s a blessing in disguise for me that he is the coach and will ask him about my India journey now. I will ask him what exactly a player should do to play for a long time and play big games. He is just spontaneous with everything,” the 32-year-old further said.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rahul Dravid (BCCI Photo)
Gowtham was selected as a net bowler for the home Test series against England where he was slated to bowl at the Indian batsmen. He bowled to the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and many more. He bowled under the supervision of head coach Ravi Shastri who gave him valuable tips after the sessions.
“It was a great experience. You get to rub shoulders with the best in the country. You get to bowl to the best batsmen in the country. It was a great experience. It is a great platform to learn on. The coaches observe you, the way you conduct yourself, the way you bowl and how long you bowl. It was a huge learning experience. Ravi sir gave me a lot of tips after the net sessions. He used to observe me and lauded me for my efforts,” the off-spinning all-rounder, who has 166 wickets and 1045 first class runs, told TimesofIndia.com.
“Just like every cricketer who starts playing cricket in India wants to represent the country, it’s what I too dreamt of. Of wearing the India colours someday. The dream has finally come true now. I just can’t wait to don the Indian jersey. It is a dream come true for me. I want to make every moment count,” Gowtham further said.
PLAYING UNDER CAPTAIN DHAWAN
India are scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is on their tour of Sri Lanka. The series was originally slated to begin on July 13 but had to be rescheduled after Sri Lanka’s batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst GT Niroshan tested positive for COVID-19.
The three ODIs (July 18, 20, and 23) and the three T20Is (July 25, 27, and 29) will all be played at the same venue – the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Image credit: BCCI
Leading the Indian team will be senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan.
“I haven’t interacted with him (Dhawan) much. But I want to learn the way he organises himself. His playing style, mindset, and of course fitness. He is calm and lets his bat do the talking. I am looking forward to a great series under Shikhar bhai in Sri Lanka,” Gowtham told TimesofIndia.com.
‘HOW CAN I TAKE MY GAME TO THE NEXT LEVEL?’ – GOWTHAM’S QUESTION TO MS DHONI
Gowtham’s long-cherished dream of playing under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni came true when he was bought for a whopping Rs 9.25 cr by the Chennai Super Kings for the IPL 2021 edition. He became the most expensive uncapped player in IPL history. His final price of 9.25 crore was more than 46 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
CSK played 7 games in the season before COVID-19 hit the team camps and was postponed. The remainder of the 2021 IPL season will now be held in September-October in the UAE.
MS Dhoni and Krishnappa Gowtham (Photo credit: Gowtham’s Instagram)
Gowtham, who didn’t get a chance to play in any of the seven games CSK played in the tournament, is looking forward to playing some match-winning knocks for the Dhoni-led side in IPL phase 2.
“It was a dream to play under such a captain. He (Dhoni) is a legend of the game. I am really lucky to have shared the dressing room, pitch, nets with him. The first thing I asked him when I met him for the first time during a net session was ‘Mahi bhai, how can I take my game to the next level’? He put his hands around my shoulder and gave me a number of tips. He has been a guiding force for me and gave me a lot of cricketing lessons. I would like to make use of them in the series against Sri Lanka.
“Believe in yourself and back your capabilities – this is what I will remember from Mahi bhai. It was a valuable lesson for me. He gave me a lot of confidence. I will apply those tips throughout my career,” Gowtham signed off.