Zaheer Khan is excited to have Piyush Chawla in the Mumbai Indians fold this season. Mumbai Indians’ Director of Cricket Operations feels younger spinners like Rahul Chahar will benefit from having a veteran leg-spinner like Chawla around them.
Mumbai Indians bought Piyush Chawla for ₹2.4 crore in the auction. The move raised eyebrows, especially after Chawla picked up just six wickets for Chennai Super Kings last year, conceding 9.09 runs per over.
Speaking to Mumbai Indians’ YouTube channel, Zaheer Khan conceded that in addition to performing well on the field, Piyush Chawla also has a big role to play behind the scenes at MI.
“Piyush Chawla is not only going to bring game or skill sets to the team, but also his wealth of experience. He has been in pressure situations, he has a bigger role to play. He is going to be the senior-most spinner in the squad. With his experience, I am sure he will be able to mentor all these spinners which we have in the squad. Sharing those experiences has always worked,” explained Zaheer.
Rahul Chahar's presence in the squad was another reason why the Mumbai Indians’ pursuit of Piyush Chawal puzzled many. The 21-year-old has been a revelation for the Mumbai Indians since making his debut in 2017, picking up 30 wickets at an economy of 7.46.
Many feel Piyush Chawla’s presence could hamper Chahar’s development. However, Zaheer Khan explained how he expects the youngster to learn from the experienced spinner. The former pacer also admitted that Piyush Chawla’s proficiency in the powerplay made the franchise splash the cash on the 32-year-old.
“We value his experience really highly. We have Rahul Chahar also in the team who is an upcoming young talent. The experience of Piyush Chawal is purely going to help him as well. He has been bowling with the new ball, so that also has been a point of discussion when we were looking to find that experienced leg spinner,” Zaheer said.
Rohit Sharma happy to see Piyush Chawla join MI
Piyush Chawla has also got the backing of Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma. The Indian opener explained how Piyush Chawla fits the bill for an attacking spinner, admitting it was something the five-time IPL champions were searching for ahead of IPL 2021.
“I have played with Piyush since my U-19 days, and I know he is a very attacking bowler which is something we wanted in our spin bowling department. He was a good buy, to get him in our squad. One of the highest wicket-takers in the IPL and has played a lot of games. He knows the format, he knows the oppositions, he knows the players,” stated Sharma.
Piyush Chawla could prove a shrewd buy for the Mumbai Indians as they begin their bid for a third consecutive IPL crown. With 156 scalps to his name, the leggie has been around for a long time and knows the ropes.
Mumbai Indians play nine games on turning tracks in Chennai and Delhi, and Piyush Chawla will give the team an added option when they take to the field.