One good game in Maharaja Trophy may be enough to attract IPL contract: Shreyas Gopal

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Karnataka leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who will be a part of the upcoming Maharaja Trophy, organised by the state’s cricket association (KSCA), is expecting to see huge array of talented players showing off their skills and abilities when the tournament begins in August at Mysore and then Bengaluru.

Since 2014, Shreyas has featured for Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and more recently, Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL), picking 49 wickets in as many matches at an average of 26.16 and economy rate of 8.11.

He has also turned out for Bengaluru Blasters, Namma Shivamogga, Mysuru Warriors and Hubli Tigers in previous years of the erstwhile Karnataka Premier League, which has been relaunched as the Maharaja Trophy from 2022 onwards.

“There are a lot of cricketers who have sprung out in the state. There are some players who weren’t in the reckoning some years ago but are knocking on the door of the senior team now. In that sense, it will be exciting to see a lot of these players. They are also definitely going to have scouts who will be watching them for the future.”

“You never know, one good game or a few good ones, and you might just grab that IPL contract. I am very excited to be part of this and to finally see the Maharaja Trophy happening is great news. This is just a stepping stone for a lot of players in the state of Karnataka, for the IPL and possibly for the Indian team,” said Shreyas on the sidelines of a promotional event.

Shreyas, the experienced leggie, further explained that in the shortest format of the game, one of the most important qualities for a spinner is having a big heart and assessing conditions in advance.

“As a spinner the one thing I have been taught is you need to have a big heart because every batter target spinners, and you will be targeted. Batters will look to take you on and score big against you, but you need to have a big heart and come in with more aggression after that. You also need to understand the conditions and bowl smartly to get that extra dot ball or wicket.”

“Spinners are capable of taking three wickets in an over and there’s more chances for wickets in death bowling, but you also can get hit a lot more. As a bowler, trying to assess conditions beforehand helps, small things like that is what will give you the edge or that magic over.”

Shreyas drove into the memory of cricket fans during IPL 2019, when he picked a hat-trick against Royal Challengers Bangalore, with his victims being Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis in a five-over match which was abandoned eventually. Looking back at that incredible hat-trick, Shreyas acknowledged that things could have turned out very differently had he not adjusted himself a little in the conditions.

“I knew every ball was like a free-hit and I just didn’t want to get hit for sixes, that was my plan. I knew they had to come hard at me and I had only two fielders on the shorter side. The odds were stacked against me.”

“But since I have played here a lot, I understood the wicket and conditions better, and realised that I had to bowl a little more overspin than pushing it through. That helped me, but on another day those deliveries could have gone out of the park against such world class batters.”

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