Spotlight On Chayank Gosain

18 Feb

From Kanishkaa Balachandran in Dubai

GosainNot long after India Under-19s' Kuldeep Yadav announced himself to the rest of the world with a hat-trick, the first of this World Cup, another left-arm spinner took some of the limelight. The leader of Scotland Under-19s' fightback, after being bundled out for 88, was 18-year-old Chayank Gosain, whose incisive new-ball spell came against the country of his birth.

Unlike Yadav, a wrist-spinner, Gosain bowls left-arm orthodox. Though the tournament is in its early stages, the relatively new pitch was a spinners' paradise, with 11 of the 15 wickets falling to the slower bowlers. Defending a hopeless total, and watched by his family in the stands, Gosain sent shivers down India's top order, his spell of 3 for 31 leaving India at 22 for 5 at one stage.

Gosain struck in the first over, as Akhil Herwadkar's expansive cut found the edge to the wicketkeeper. Staying round the wicket to the left-hand batsmen, he had Vijay Zol edging to slip before inducing a false shot from Ankush Bains with flight. The tame chip to midwicket gave Gosain his third wicket in four overs.

Though Scotland failed to close out the game, they had reasons to remain positive. The disappointment wasn't evident in Gosain as he reflected on his team's fight, sitting side by side with Yadav in the media room. When asked if the decision to open the bowling was an impulsive one, after Yadav's exploits, Gosain said it was a responsibility he had been entrusted with for a while.

Scotland Under-19s' Chayank Gosain poses with his parents, India Under-19s v Scotland Under-19s, Under-19 World Cup, Dubai, February 17, 2014

"In club cricket, I had started off opening the bowling, because I don't really turn the ball much, just skids on," Gosain said. "My coach thought it would be a good idea to open when we were playing the qualifiers in Holland. We just decided to keep going with it because it worked okay."

Another thing Gosain has in common with Yadav is that they both began as medium-pacers who were asked to change to spin by their coaches. Gosain was seven then, still in his hometown of New Delhi, where he was a student of Summerfields School.

Gosain's father Madan, who works as a restaurant manager in Edinburgh, relocated his family to Scotland in 2005. The nine-year-old Gosain was intent on continuing his cricket education and within a month he had joined Carlton Club. Gosain's mother, Surbhi, recalls how he would stop at nothing to secure admission.

"He was already learning cricket in Delhi. As soon as we came here we were looking for a cricket club for him," Surbhi says with a chuckle. "So we weren't actually looking for a school, we were looking for a cricket club. We thought he would give up, and say 'no'. He just went on and on."

Gosain is congratulated by his team mates (IDI/Getty)Adjusting to life in Scotland was not hard for Gosain, who felt it was easier to adapt to new surroundings when you're as young as he was. He started playing for Scotland U-17s in 2012 and graduated to the U-19 team in 2013-14. He finished the European U-19 Championships (the qualifying tournament for the World Cup) as the second-highest wicket-taker for Scotland with nine wickets.

Gosain grew up idolising Daniel Vettori, but his role model now is the Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath. Gosain has put his studies on hold, though he plans to study engineering at university soon. His parents insist they're not "pushy", and are happy to let Gosain chart his career path. For now, he's in his gap year and he's hoping to play some cricket in India. As Monday's match was televised, he may not be an unfamiliar face in his home country anymore.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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