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Channelling his inner Dale Steyn, Kaverappa is ready for the big stage

Last updated on 26 Apr 2024 | 07:29 AM
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Channelling his inner Dale Steyn, Kaverappa is ready for the big stage

In a exclusive, the PBKS seamer spoke about domestic cricket, the Maharaja T20 league, sharing the dressing room with Rabada, and more

Growing up in Coorg, Vidwath Kaverappa was a man of multiple sports. While cricket was always his first love, he was forced to take up numerous other sports, including basketball and football, due to the lack of infrastructure. 

Not only that, it was sports that would help him maintain his shape and fitness. 

Kaverappa even tried his hand at handball, where he represented the state before returning to the love of his life - cricket - something that he had to wait until he had completed his tenth standard. 

“I always wanted to be a cricketer since my childhood. I was only playing other sports because there were no cricketing facilities in Coorg, apart from summer camps,” Vidwath Kaverappa told in an exclusive interview.

But for cricket to become a reality, he had to give up on the city where he grew up to make a switch to Bengaluru, a place that he now calls home. While his cricketing life started at Presidency College, a switch to training under the watchful eyes of Samuel Jayaraj made the ultimate difference. 

Also Read: Can the promising trailer of Vidwath Kaverappa deliver a blockbuster?

Under Jayaraj, a notable coach in the cricketing circuit here in Bengaluru, Vidwath took off, with the then 23-year-old fulfilling his dream. He wasn’t even supposed to be making his Ranji Trophy debut, but an injury to Prasidh Krishna opened up a spot, and the Coorgi pacer gobbled up the opportunity back in 2022. 

“I didn’t know I was going to make my debut (against Puducherry) in that game, I just got to know once I went to the ground. The captain, the senior players, and the coaches all backed me. They supported me and did not add extra pressure,” he recalled his debut for Karnataka. 

While he started his career with just one wicket, life since then has been a completely different ride. Since his debut, only two pacers - Vyshak Vijay Kumar and Chintan Gaja - have taken more wickets on Indian soil. 

What’s threatening is that only V Koushik and Baltej Singh have a better average than Vidwath.

In his first full season with Karnataka (2023), the 25-year-old pacer picked up 38 wickets, averaging just 17.1. But in comparison, the second-season syndrome got to him, with 27 wickets, averaging 21.4, a touch more than he did in his first full season. 

While it isn’t a big dip, it was still enough for Vidwath himself to consider a ‘disappointment’, showing how highly he rates his own game. 

“It has been amazing (journey with Karnataka), I couldn’t have asked for a perfect start than this. I could have done better this season compared to last season. It wasn’t as great, I’m a little disappointed in it but I just learn from it, learn from my mistakes, and go ahead and become better next year,” he added. 

Since then, life has been on an upward curve for the youngster, who has won both the Duleep Trophy and the Deodhar Trophy, marking his presence by removing some of the biggest names in Indian domestic cricket - Cheteshwar Pujara, Suryakumar Yadav and Sarfaraz Khan. All of this ultimately led him to an Indian ‘A’ cap.

“The journey has been amazing, didn’t expect myself to be here this quick but you need to grab your opportunities. That’s all I can say,” he added. 

It doesn’t stop there, either. Earlier this year, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had named five promising pacers in a new ‘fast-bowling contract’, a never-before-seen concept in Indian cricket. Vidwath was one of them, and the 25-year-old only hopes to learn leaps and bounds from being in the presence of some big superstars in the Indian blues. 

“Looking forward to getting help and growing my cricketing knowledge and skill set. (Want to) Keep practising, and share the dressing room with the top players, gaining knowledge from them and keep improving.”


A first glance at Vidwath’s bowling action, you see something very interesting about it. It might even remind you of a certain South African legend, Dale Steyn. 

There’s a bit of Steyn in his action and a lot of Steyn in his aggression. Hence, it was no surprise when he singled out the former South African pacer as one of his idols.

“Growing up, my idol was always Dale Steyn, I liked how smooth his run-up and action was. I also became a big fan of his aggression. I did try to model my action a little bit on Steyn but I couldn’t do it. There can be only one Dale Steyn in this world,” he said, in awe of Steyn. 

But unlike Steyn, Vidwath still hasn’t rocked the world with his pace. That’s something he hopes to work on in the future. 

“One area that I feel I can improve is my pace, it is improving gradually. If I can get a little quicker, I could be more menacing,” he said. 

What’s a little quicker? 

“Simple: another five clicks more. I’m not too greedy, I don’t want to be bowling 150 kmph every ball. It is a dream that I want to bowl but if you think logically, you need to stick to your strengths and just keep getting better at it while focusing on your main strength,” he added. 

Not just in red-ball, the Karnataka pacer has also made steady inroads in the white-ball formats, especially in the T20s, wherein he averages a paltry 12, with 23 wickets under his belt. 

However, much of his success in the shortest format could only be attributed to Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA)’s brainchild, the Maharaja T20 league, a tournament that was a stepping stone to his success. 

In 2022, representing the Gulbarga Mystics, the Karnataka pacer picked up 17 wickets, averaging 25.8, which led to him getting his cap for the state at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT). 

However, a more mature Vidwath picked up ten wickets with an economy of just 7.7 a year later. It was all of this experience of playing in the Maharaja T20 league which came useful while donning the Karnataka jersey. 

“I hadn’t played a lot of T20 cricket before that tournament (Maharaja T20 league), so playing in that tournament helped me explore my skills. I found out what my weaknesses and strengths were, so I could work on those and build upon them.” 

It was natural that his success in all these tournaments wouldn’t go unnoticed when Punjab Kings picked the Karnataka pacer at the 2023 IPL Auction for INR 20 lakhs. 

“It is every kid’s dream to play in the IPL. It is the quickest way to represent your country, it was a dream come true moment for me as well. It is a stepping stone to get to that blue cap (India team),” he added. 

While opportunities haven’t come his way yet in the tournament, the fact that he gets to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in world cricket is already a big stepping stone for him. The Karnataka pacer shed light on his working relationship with the South African pacer Kagiso Rabada and how it helped him in his game. 

“Right now, I haven’t really been speaking about red-ball cricket with him (Rabada), but it is nice to share the dressing room with such a great human being and a fast bowler,” he said of Rabada’s influence. 

“I have been learning from him, I hope to learn more from him. It is tough to say what I have learned from him; it is about our discussion during the practice sessions. It is about what comes to my mind at that particular moment. I can’t put it in words,” he added. 


On the field, Vidwath’s aggression knows no bounds. He is a pacer through and through, starting from his mindset of ripping the stumps apart to his aggressive and in-your-face celebration that he possesses. Therefore, it was no surprise when he lauded the two bouncers for an over rule implemented in this year’s IPL. 

He went a step further, wanting BCCI to implement it at the domestic level. 

“Yes, I would love that (two bouncers rule in domestic cricket). We all know how the game is siding towards the batters mainly, it is nice to have this two-bouncer rule in T20s, it gives the bowlers more options, and it will be difficult for the batters to play us,” he said. 

But like many pacers, he is a gentle giant off the field. His answers are always short and sweet; he has a tone of happiness attached to him, and there’s a sense of somberness to his approach to life. 

If not for cricket, he is more than comfortable sitting on his couch at home, listening to music and crushing his opponents in Call of Duty, a first-person shooter game. 

Nah, just kidding; while he might be the most sombre guy, he still keeps his aggressive self alive by killing a few players out in the warzone. 

“Generally, when I’m outside, I tend to stay home, I don’t go out a lot, I sit at home, play video games and listen to music. Just relax at home. (Favourite game) Call of Duty, it is still aggression.”

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