3 Vidwath Kaverappa spells that show he's the next big fast-bowler in Indian cricket 

Keverappa's heroics in the semifinal and final led South Zone to the Duleep Trophy title

Karnataka-born Vidwath Kaverappa has taken the Indian domestic circuit by storm over the past year with his sensational bowling across formats. The fast bowler with a smooth run-up and an easy release has already showcased the rare ability to adapt his game and excel at both white and red-ball cricket.

The 24-year-old has been the talk of the town for his surgical bowling performances in the recently concluded Duleep Trophy.

Kaverappa finished the tournament as the second-leading wicket-taker with 15 scalps in two games at a resounding average of 11.93, including two five-wicket hauls. Included is a magical haul of eight wickets in the final that led South Zone to a thrilling 75-run win at Bengaluru.

Debuting for Karnataka in their penultimate group stage game of the Ranji Trophy a year ago, the youngster showed promise with four wickets in two games. This included match figures of 3/65 in the quarterfinals against Uttar Pradesh, with the prized scalp of Rinku Singh in the second innings.

Bought by the Punjab Kings (PBKS) ahead of the 2023 IPL season after his spectacular Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) season last year, Kaverappa's numbers in the limited-over formats have also been a revelation.

His big breakthrough in the domestic setup arrived at India's second-most prestigious T20 completion (SMAT) behind the IPL. Kaverappa picked up 18 wickets in eight games at an other-worldly average of 10.72 and a stellar economy rate of 6.36 runs per over. Despite defeat at the hands of Punjab in the quarterfinals, the talented pacer helped Karnataka finish on top of the Elite Group C in the league stages.

Following the sensational SMAT season, Kaverappa had no let-up as he took giant strides in the premier domestic 50-over competition, Vijay Hazare Trophy. Bagging 17 wickets at a miserly economy of 3.53 runs per over in eight games, the Karnataka star proved his worth in gold across all the formats.

With all the hype surrounding the young man after a scintillating debut season in 2022, Kaverappa continued his impressive showing in the 2022/23 Ranji Trophy. He picked up 30 wickets in eight matches at an average of 20.43 with two five-wicket hauls.

Considering the scarcity of all-format bowlers in India and several fitness issues among the pacers, Kaverappa could be the next in line to break the national doors. He should certainly make his IPL debut next season for PBKS, considering his impressive showing over the past 12 to 14 months.

As we marvel at the aforementioned overall numbers, let us deep dive into three specific spells to make the case of Vidwath Kaverappa as the next big fast-bowler in Indian cricket.

#1 7/53 against West Zone, Duleep Trophy 2023 final

Kaverappa's devastating spell helped South Zone win their 14th title
Kaverappa's devastating spell helped South Zone win their 14th title

Among several noteworthy performances already stacked up by young Vidwath Kaverappa, his first-innings bowling display in the recent Duleep Trophy final has to rank at the top.

While seven wickets itself is a tremendous achievement, the stature of the batters the emerging pacer dismissed at the most crucial juncture of the game stood out.

Coming off an equally impressive spell of 5/28 in the first innings of South Zone's two-wicket win in the semifinals against North Zone, all eyes were fixated on the 24-year-old heading into the grand finale. Kaverappa exceeded even the loftiest expectations, picking up a stunning seven-wicket haul in the first innings.

With his team scoring only 213 in their first essay, the Karnataka seamer picked up the vital wickets of Harvik Desai, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suryakumar Yadav, and Sarfaraz Khan in a 12-over spell. The display had experts and fans ranking it among the best pace bowling displays in Indian domestic cricket as it turned the match completely on its head.

Kaverappa finished with 7/53 in his 19 overs to propel South Zone to a 78-run lead which eventually proved plenty enough in a low-scoring affair. South Zone emerged victorious by 75 runs, and the 24-year-old was rightly adjudged the Player of the Contest.

For the record, Kaverappa's figures were the second-best all-time for South Zone in Duleep Trophy, behind only Venkatesh Prasad's 7/38 against North Zone in 1993.

#2 5/11 against Jammu & Kashmir, SMAT 2022/23

Kaverappa broke through splendidly in the 2022 SMAT.
Kaverappa broke through splendidly in the 2022 SMAT.

Vidwath Kaverappa began his domestic T20 career in sparkling fashion, picking up 3/19 against Maharashtra to help Karnataka get off to the perfect start to their SMAT 2022/23 campaign. As incredible as those figures are, the best was yet to come for the bustling 24-year-old.

In Karnataka's fourth game of the season, Kaverappa produced his best bowling figures in a T20 match to help the team from falling to a precarious 2-2 record. After the batting unit mustered a below-par 147 in their 20 overs, Kaverappa took matters into his own hands and demolished the Jammu & Kashmir batting lineup.

His rip-roaring 5/11 in 3.2 overs muscled Karnataka to a 34-run win and went a long way in ensuring the team finished atop Group C.

Although Karnataka were eliminated in the quarterfinals against Punjab, Kaverappa displayed his big-match temperament by picking up three wickets in a high-scoring thriller. His scalps included Abhishek Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Prabhsmiran Singh.

#3 4/40 against Punjab, Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022/23

Kaverappa won his first Player of the Match award in a knockout game.
Kaverappa won his first Player of the Match award in a knockout game.

Another incredible spell of fast bowling that showcased Vidwath Kaverappa's all-format skills and big-match fortitude came in the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy against Punjab.

Having already starred for Karnataka in the group stages, the young pacer was keen to help his side win their first knockout game of the year. The side had suffered defeats in the Ranji Trophy and SMAT quarterfinals against Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, respectively.

However, they did not have to wait long to avenge their defeat to Punjab in the SMAT quarterfinals as the teams faced off again in the final eight of the Vijay Hazare Trophy a few weeks later.

Winning the toss and bowling first, Karnataka looked for Kaverappa to set the tone. The 24-year-old did just that as he dismissed star batter Prabhsimran Singh off the first ball of the match. He followed that with three other wickets, finishing with impeccable figures of 4/40 in his 10 overs to restrict Punjab to 235 in their 50 overs.

In reply, the Southern giants won by four wickets to advance to the semifinals. Kaverappa was adjudged the Player of the Match for his incisive spell of medium-pace bowling.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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