Nurtured and groomed by the legend Erapalli Prasanna, Gowtham grew leaps and bounds to make it to the state side at junior levels. At 24, he made his first-class debut for Karnataka in 2012 against Uttar Pradesh where he picked up 2 wickets in the match, but it wasn’t enough to justify his place in the XI.
Lean patch haunted the off-spinner and he evanesced out of the circuit. Fast-forward to 2017, he is one of the leading spinners for Karnataka. Good things come to people who wait and Gowtham is a prime example. He tinkered his bowling action and a rejuvenated Gowtham re-entered Karnataka Ranji Team in 2016 on the back of fine performances in the Karnataka Premier League. He turned out to be a vital cog in the bowling unit claiming 27 wickets in eight matches. Those displays spurred the selectors to pick him in the India A squad for a tour game against the visiting Aussies in 2017.
Gowtham grabbed the opportunity with both hands – smashing a quickfire 74 off just 68 balls. In September 2017, he was sidelined for India A selection on disciplinary reasons. It was found that he missed a Duleep Trophy game owing to illness and went onto play in the Karnataka Premier League. He later tendered unconditional apology for his mistake.
Gowtham continues to prosper in first-class cricket, beginning the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy with a bang – picking up seven wickets across two innings and essayed his maiden first-class ton to script a memorable victory for Karnataka over Assam. He was picked up by the Royals in 2018 at the auctions.
IPL through the years
Krishnappa Gowtham was picked up for a surprisingly high price (for an uncapped player) by the Mumbai Indians in 2017. His ability to bowl restrictive off-spin and tonk the ball hard made him a tempting proposition but he didn’t get a game that season and was ultimately released for the fresh auctions in 2018. The Rajasthan Royals, known for their talent scouting, picked up Gowtham at a reasonable rate and he eventually made his debut in the IPL. Since his first game, he became an automatic starter in the RR XI due to the balance he provided with bat and ball. While a more celebrated all-rounder like Ben Stokes was struggling, Gowtham managed to impress one and all with his game-changing cameos and utility with the ball. A matured customer, the Karnataka lad is expected to once again figure in the scheme of things for RR in the 2019 season and he will be keen to better his previous year’s performances.