Friend Kohli and Mentor Dhoni are my guiding lights, says Yuzi Chahal
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Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal might be relatively new to International cricket, but he has already made a case for himself to be part of the playing XI in the limited-overs formats.
Speaking to Cricketnext ahead of India's ODI series against Australia, the Haryana leggie was heaping praises on MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli for being his guiding lights. He also referred Kohli as a good friend and went on to call Dhoni a mentor whose strategies have helped him bowling to a certain batsman.
It is always crucial to have a guiding light, but fortunately for me, I have two in Kohli bhai and Mahi bhai (Dhoni). They are the reason behind my success. While the skipper is like a friend, constantly trusting me to go ahead and implement the plans I wish to on the field, Mahi bhai is more like the mentor I turn to every time I have any doubt in my head. Being the wicketkeeper, he has a clear idea of what is going on and what could be the ideal strategy against a certain batsman, he said.
He also thanked Kohli for giving him the confidence to bowl anywhere in the innings irrespective of the situation.
"I must say that thanks to the skipper, I now have the confidence to bowl anywhere in the innings and in any situation. Be it the first over of a T20 game or the 50th over of an ODI game, I am ready to go through the grind and give it my best. And I must say that along with having faith in my own belief, it is the seniors like Kohli bhai and Mahi bhai who make the job of youngsters like me easier," he added.
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Chahal has been playing under Virat Kohli for a while in the IPL and has been Kohli's go to bowler in the tournament. The Royal Challengers Bangalore duo are trying to replicate similar success with the national team as Kohli has been backing the spinner in ODIs and T20Is.
Chalal made his debut for India against Zimbabwe in 2016 and was dropped from the side after the series. He was recalled to the ODI side after one year when the team toured Sri Lanka last month and took five wickets in four matches.
After a successful ODI series in the island nation, the selectors have retained him in the Indian squad to face Australia in a five-match ODI series that gets underway later this week.
Chahal has been one of the consistent bowlers in the last three-four IPL seasons and the leggie has carried his form to the International stage. In spite of playing just seven T20Is, Chahal has recorded the best bowling figures by an Indian in the format when he took six wickets against England in Bangalore earlier this year.
Chahal has been one of India's better performers in the Sri Lanka series and is likely to get a place in the playing XI when Kohli's men take on Australia in the first ODI at Chennai. He will look to do well and cement his place in the team.
Chahal, along with his fellow wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, can form a deadly bowling combination in the shorter formats and the selectors and the team management should back them so that they gain confidence going into the 2019 World Cup, where I see these two holding the key for India.