KC Cariappa's (Above) 2 out of 3 wickets in IPL 2016 included those of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul © AFP
KC Cariappa’s (Above) 2 out of 3 wickets in IPL 2016 included those of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul © AFP

KC Cariappa was an unknown figure before he was purchased by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the India Premier League (IPL) auction 2015 for a whooping Rs. 2.4 crores. His first victim in the IPL was AB de Villiers, but did not play a single game after that. Cariappa was bought by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), where he got a few more chances. However, he is one of the star players of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) side Bijapur Bulls, who won their maiden title last year. Cariappa finished as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with 16 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 5.25. READ: KC Cariappa: Who is Kolkata Knight Riders mystery spinner?

Good performances in the KPL earned him a call-up into the Karnataka squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2015-16, where he was once again the stand out performer for his team, finishing with seven wickets from four match at 6.66 as Karnataka finished fourth in the table from Group D. With the new season of KPL starting shortly, Pramod Ananth caught up with Cariappa after his two seasons in the IPL, his debut for Karnataka, how it was to bowl to Virat Kohli, his goals for the next couple of seasons and more.

CricketCountry (CC): The KPL 2016 starts in on September 17. How are you and your team Bijapur Bulls preparing for it?

KC Cariappa (KCC): Team is preparing well and we are practicing well for past 2 weeks. We went to Mysore for 3 days practice and we came back to Hubli. All of them prepared for the KPL. We practiced in the KSCA also for 1 week.

CricketCountry (CC): You finished as the leading wicket-taker in the 2015 edition. How confident are you of repeating your performance?

KCC:  I’m pretty confident. After getting purple cap last year, huge confidence for me to play in the tournament. This year I did well in the domestic season. I hope the same performance I’ll continue in the KPL.

CricketCountry (CC): As defending champions, is there extra pressure on your team to perform well?

KCC:  No extra pressure. Past 2-3 years I have been playing for Bijapur. From first year I am performing well. Everyone is supporting me. Senior cricketers like Robin Uthappa are here. It feels good.

CricketCountry (CC): You made you Karnataka debut in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last season, where again you finished as the leading wicket-taker for Karnataka. How was that experience and how different is it from playing in the KPL or the IPL?

KCC:  It’s the same. The pressure is always there in all T20 games because of all the crowd. But confidence level will be high every time.

CricketCountry (CC): Do you seek advices of some of the international players like Robin Uthappa, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar while playing for Karnataka and KPL? What do they tell you?

KCC:  Mithun and Robin are playing for Bijapur only. First year when I played in 2014 was for Bijapur Bulls. Last year Robin also came into the team. They are supporting me well. Bowling point of view, training, everything they are teaching me.

CricketCountry (CC): You were purchased out of nowhere during the IPL 2015 auction by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Rs. 2.4 crores. Were you as surprised as everyone or you had a hunch that KKR will bid for you?

KCC:  It was a surprise. When I went for the Champions League camp for 15 days, I had the confidence. I bowled good line and length. Everyone including Jacques Kallis were impressed. I thought I’ll be in an IPL team but not for such a big price. READ: KKR vs RCB IPL 2015: KC Cariappa admits being nervous on his debut

CricketCountry (CC): How was your experience sharing the dressing room with legends like Wasim Akram, Brett Lee and others?

KCC:  That experience was good. It was my first time with them, Jacques Kallis and all. I was very confident at that time after meeting them. Sharing dressing room with [Gautam] Gambhir and everyone, it’s a great thing. READ: IPL 2015: Gautam Gambhir feels it is unfair to compare KC Cariappa with Sunil Narine

CricketCountry (CC): Your new franchise Kings XI Punjab had a tough time in the IPL 2016. You picked up 3 wickets in 5 matches, including that of Virat Kohli in one of the matches, but then Kohli went after you in the match in Bangalore where he hit as many as six sixes against you. Were you a bit demoralised after this? How did you cope?

KCC:  It is not like that. After taking Virat’s wicket, KL’s [Rahul] wicket, we played one more game in Bangalore. It is not like we were under pressure and bowled like that. Virat Kohli is a big player and world’s best batsman. He is a star. When we bowl to him, we are thinking oh, we are bowling to Virat Kohli. That confidence we’ll get. Every bowler will think like that only. If we take wicket we will be happy. It was a very bad time for me, for the team as well. But I was very confident that time.

CricketCountry (CC): Bowling leg-spin is considered an art and not everyone can execute it perfectly. Is there anyone you watched growing, who motivated you to choose leg-spin?

KCC:  Actually, I bowl carrom ball, not leg spin. Leg-spin is wrist spin. I bowl only carrom ball, my stock ball is carrom ball, but it is considered as leg spin. I did not learn from anyone. Before I used to play with tennis ball, after that I directly came to leather ball cricket. That time[Ajantha] Mendis was very famous. I saw so many videos like that and got that action. I created an action myself and then bowled.

CricketCountry (CC): What is your goal for the next 2-3 seasons?

KCC:  After KPL we have Ranji Trophy, Under-23 Karnataka A tournament. After that there is IPL. Everyone will think of playing for India. Performance is the main thing in IPL. If you perform well in the IPL, then 100 per cent you will play in the Indian team. That is my goal.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world’s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)