Yuzvendra Chahal: Virat Kohli very supportive of me
One will hardly remember Yuzvendra Chahal as the bowler who played an important role (3-0-9-2) in the Champions League Twenty20 triumph for the Mumbai Indians in 2011. Sadly, unlike every other youngster in the IPL who enjoy a bright shade of limelight after a great tournament, he went through unnoticed until the start of IPL 7 season.
A common Mumbai Indian fan who is already blaming and cursing the brains in the backroom staff for not signing back Dwayne Smith and Glenn Maxwell can add Chahal to that list as he has been one of the top bowlers for Royal Challengers Bangalore and currently has 12 wickets from 11 matches.
“I am having a lot of fun and today’s win has been particularly special as it has given us a chance of making it to the next level of the tournament. We have momentum on our side with this win. Everyone has been great at RCB with me, backing me up at every step. I am enjoying my bowling,” said the 23-year-old after the match against Chennai Super Kings, when questioned about how much he is enjoying the good run of form.
Speaking about the time when he was not a regular for his team at the domestic level and last year’s IPL, he was reasonable with his answers: “I think it had mainly to do with the fact that (Pragyan) Ojha bhaiya became a part of MI in 2012 and joined Bhajji pa (Harbhajan Singh). With these two senior spinners, it was unlikely for me to get many chances and that’s what happened,” he said about the competition for places in Mumbai Indians.
“The same happened with me during that period with my state team, Haryana. We had Amit Mishra playing for us and on a wicket like Lahli (which is conducive to pace bowlers), where we play our home games, it is difficult to play too many spinners. That was the main reason for the lull,” he added.
However, he mentioned that he kept his focus on bowling all these days and is happy that he is reaping the rewards.
When asked about the experience of training with two world-class spinners in Daniel Vettori and Muttiah Muralitharan, he said: “Dan sir has been especially helpful in me getting my stride right. I tend to unknowingly elongate my stride sometimes during my run-up and he keeps an eye for that and corrects it. With Murali sir it’s more about confidence. He always tells me to bowl confidently, and most importantly, have fun while bowling. He says enjoyment is the main ingredient of success.”
On his skipper who can get agitated at times when bowlers go for runs: “Virat bhai is very supportive on the field. Even when I go for a six too many, he keeps it calm and tells me to not bother about it. It’s also the same with Yuvi pa (Yuvraj Singh) and all other seniors in the team.
“In RCB’s last home game (against Delhi Daredevils in Bengaluru), I gave away 45 runs in four overs, but there was no pressure on me at all during or after the game. Today, I went on the field and enjoyed my time there as I always do,” he reveals about the support he receives from his co-players.
Having represented India in junior levels in Chess, he has looked very calm and composed even when taken for runs.
When asked about that one wicket which he can credit to the chess background, “It has to be Kevin Pietersen’s wicket in the last match. He wasn’t stepping out against me for a long time and my instinct told me he could step out in next delivery. So I bowled him that ball (flat, short, leg-spinning ball that Pietersen was stumped off while trying to dance down the track). That was a very satisfying wicket,” the smart spinner in him recollected.
On his chances of winning the IPL Emerging Player of the season award, he was fairly confident but was quick to mention that it was not his priority.
“I think I have a very good chance, given the way my performance has been so far. I would love to win the award, but more than that I’d like to play in the IPL final,” Chahal concluded.