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IPL 2014 Auction: Analysing Karn Sharma’s worth as leg-spinner

Karn Sharma's leg-spin comes in handy in the Hyderabad surface that assists spinners © IANS
Karn Sharma’s leg-spin comes in handy in the Hyderabad surface that assists spinners © IANS

Karn Sharma being bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2014 auction for a whopping Rs 3.75 crores raised a few eyebrows. Bharath Ramaraj analyses whether Hyderabad made the right move by picking him up in the auction.

Spin twins, Karn Sharma and Amit Mishra had a whale of a time in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 by teasing and enticing batsmen to their downfall. One of the spin twins, Sharma ended that tournament with 11 wickets in his kitty at an  impressive average of 20.9. His economy rate of 6.6 passed the litmus test of bowling to batsmen who are ever ready to sledge hammer bowlers to all corners of the park with their flashing blade.

In this year’s IPL auction, those twinkling performances helped him take home Rs 3.75 crores. In fact, there was a bidding war going on between IPL franchises, before Sunrisers Hyderabad (SH) were able to buy him back.

Now, if we analyse Sharma’s bowling, he can impart turn on the ball to bamboozle batsmen and send them on a march past back to the pavilion. He skids it through with his top spinners and has a fine googly in his armour. He also gets a fair amount of bounce. As Hyderabad play a lot of their games at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium, where tracks are suited to spinners of his ilk, he becomes doubly dangerous.

One of Sharma’s best spells in last year’s IPL came against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at home. Punjab’s batsmen were virtually dancing to his tunes and he went onto take two crucial scalps. In a crystal clear manner he yet again showcased his value especially, while playing at home. Last year, he was in many ways, a symbol of stability during the middle overs.

There is always a quaint charm of watching a leg-spinner ply his trade in front of packed stadiums. Actually, even if we stop romanticising a leg spinner with a bagful of tricks bewildering batsmen, it is a simple truth that leg spinners are wicket-takers and in any format of the game, taking wickets is the best way to stem the flow of runs.

There is an inkling that Sharma wasn’t worth Rs 3.75 crore. However, we have to remember that Hyderabad play their home games on tracks, where slow bowlers thrive. So, if we scratch the surface, underneath, one can see the rationale behind Hyderabad plumping for him.

The Railways leg-spinner, largely an unknown quantity before last year’s IPL has suddenly been thrust into the limelight. One can only hope that Karn Sharma continues to work on his trade and complete his apprenticeship to become a quality leg-spinner in the near future.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

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