IPL is a stepping stone for Daredevil Gautam

The Karnataka youngster finished the Ranji Trophy season as the third highest run-getter in the country with 943 runs, to go with 34 dismissals behind the stumps.

New Delhi: Muralidharen Gautam hasn’t yet made a name for himself in the greater public consciousness, though in Indian cricketing circles he is gaining a reputation for being a wicket-keeper with a difference.

The Karnataka youngster finished the Ranji Trophy season as the third highest run-getter in the country with 943 runs, to go with 34 dismissals behind the stumps. Now part of the Delhi Daredevils and waiting for an opportunity to show his wares, Gautam, who has a first-class average of 51 after 41 games, believes he is ready to take the next step towards his dream of playing for India one day.

“I had a very good domestic season, and now, being part of a big tournament like the IPL feels great. I feel confident of replicating my success in this format too,” Gautam told MAIL TODAY.

“The advantage of the IPL is that if you play a couple of good knocks, you get recognition, plus it also acts like a great confidence booster if you perform against international players. There is a lot to learn from interacting with the senior international and Indian players as well. I have been a part of the India ‘A’ side before, and I’m hoping to be picked for the India ‘A’ tour to South Africa in June.”

Asked what he had changed about his game that had allowed him to garner so much success in first-class cricket, Gautam said: “The previous season hadn’t been great for me, and I admit I struggled a bit. My technique wasn’t all that good, so I worked a lot in the nets and changed it. Even with the gloves, I started employing the baseball catcher’s technique and the ‘broom’ technique (catching the ball in a sweeping motion), which was taught to me by Karnataka assistant coach J Arun Kumar. Usually, when an edge occurs, you need to keep your hands loose, and once I got used to that, it resulted in 34 dismissals.”

Gautam, who idolises Adam Gilchrist like many wicketkeeper-batsmen around the world, says he opted for the Daredevils after a conversation with former India stumper Dinesh Karthik, who played for the Delhi side in the past.

“I’ve seen Delhi Daredevils promote youth on a regular basis, and a lot of their players like Varun Aaron and Naman Ojha have gone on to play for India, as have David Warner and Glenn Maxwell for Australia. I felt better chance of playing in Delhi. I was talking to Karthik and he encouraged me to sign on, saying it was a great place to play cricket,” Gautam said.

“Even though I haven’t got a game yet, one needs to keep thinking about the processes, and things will fall in place. I want to enjoy my stay with the Daredevils, and I’m really happy with the management for giving me confidence. Coach Eric Simons has been a great help, and he keeps telling me not to change my game. He says with the game I have, I can get 10,000 runs, because I have a variety of shots. That is a huge confidence booster. It’s the first time I’m moving out of Bangalore, and Delhi is fast becoming a second home to me.”

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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