Although North Zone players Baltej Singh and Vaibhav Arora were on fire from the opening minutes, Varma defended with complete control. There was a sense of impatience early in the game, especially in the way he pressed on defense or tried to steal quick singles. But after only 13 minutes, the game was halted until 11 a.m. because of poor lighting. When he resumed the game, Varma looked like a complete authority in everything he did. There was even a bit of arrogance in the way he hooked Arora for a big six over the free kick, with his front foot dangling in the air. And then there was a perfectly timed inside-out over the cover from the same bowler.
It was in this stadium that Varma made heads turn earlier in the IPL this year with his dismissive strike – an unbeaten 84 after 46 strokes when Mumbai Indians were fumbling at 48/4. Since then, it was more a question of when he would make the Indian national team than whether he would. I was just thinking about my process. I wasn’t thinking about anything else. I thought about whatever matches were coming up, I had to focus on them, and when the choice fell to me, I was happy, Varma said of the days since that hit.
With the South Zone in a precarious position, there was no time to celebrate, but Varma took the time to thank some of his childhood friends and coach who played a big part in his success. His father, Namburi Nagaraju, works as an electrician, so choosing cricket was not an easy decision.
Getting into the Indian national team is a big deal. I talked to a few of my childhood friends, parents, and coach who were with me along the way. I also got to think about tomorrow’s challenge (hitting on day two), how to hit and all that. Even while I was sleeping, I was thinking about selection. That (selection) is an important thing, but I put it aside because I need to win the match for the South Zone. That’s the most important thing. It was going well, but unfortunately we didn’t get a big result, but we’re still aiming for an outright win, said Varma, who scored 46 points as South Zone ended up giving up a three-run lead with 195 points to Agarwal’s 76.
With India’s T20 team having an established roster of players, Varma may have to play in the middle order as he did with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. It’s not an easy job, but he’s already getting used to it thanks to the sound advice of Kieron Pollard, who was the traas a batting coach in the franchise.
I will always support myself in any situation. I try to think clearly because Pollard was the main guy who did the work for us in those situations, and he always tells me to stay calm and focus on the next ball, and when you keep your form, you can execute your strikes, Varma said.
Varma also gets valuable advice from Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who explain to him the importance of doing what he wants.