Having become an integral part of India's limited overs team over the last one year, wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal credits the courage and bravery which comes naturally to him for his rise in international cricket.
Chahal has played 25 ODIs and 26 T20Is for the country so far and has picked up 45 and 42 wickets in both the formats respectively. The young and admirable cricketer believes in bowling the attacking lengths, which led to him becoming one of Royal Challengers Bangalore's rare bowling gem in the Indian Premier League, and says, "Flighting the ball and bowling tough lengths is my strength."
He exhibited it perfectly against Hong Kong on Tuesday, September 18, when he came back brilliantly after a not so fruitful start to eventually pick 3/46 in his 10 overs.
"That(flighting the ball) is my strength, but it also depends on the situation. If the batsman is batting for long, I try to flight the ball, bowl the hard ball, and let him make a mistake. In T20 cricket, especially, even if you don't do much, the batsman will surely come after you. So I always look to bowl to my strengths and not bowl looking at who the batsman is." said Chahal in a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo and added, "In ODIs, you have the extra six overs, so you have a lot more deliveries in which to unleash your variations. I always look at the game situation and then decide if I should flight the ball and go for wickets or try to restrict runs." he further gave an insight into his mindset while bowling and said, "I look at the scores of the batsmen and the situation they are in. If a new batsman is on, he's probably trying to play himself in, so that gives me a chance to attack."
When the talk is about Chahal, it is only right he gets asked about his outstanding pairing with the left-arm classical Kuldeep Yadav. The coming together of #Kulcha has been one of the best things to have happened to the Indian white-ball game in a while and you can see how brilliantly the two, who are still learning their craft individually, compliment each other.
"Kuldeep [Yadav] and I have been given a specific role: take wickets in the middle overs." he revealed, "It doesn't matter if we concede 10-15 extra runs, but if we manage to get two or three wickets, it automatically transforms the innings." and said, "Teams that may have had a chance of getting 280-290 tend to then finish with 220-230. So we're not really worried about conceding runs. The focus is always on wickets."
Chahal further talked about admiration they share and the relationship they've developed and said, "We've been playing a lot of cricket together. Even when he was first with Mumbai Indians , we were together. We bond well. If I come in to bowl before him, I talk to him about how the wicket is behaving and what he can try to do to trouble the batsmen. If he comes on first, he comes up and chats with me. Obviously if one of us applies pressure from one end, there's a chance of wickets at the other. So if I don't strike, he takes over, or it's the other way round."
One of the other delights of watching them in operation is how much it brings out the best in MS Dhoni behind the stumps. To pick two quality tweakers, you need excellence with the gloves and the great man has been simply brilliant at this tough job. Dhoni is constantly in chat with Chahal and Kuldeep and guides them throughout their over and the quota for the match. His words of wisdom on the stump mic are often quite amusing.
"When Kuldeep and I bowl, he tells us very early how the wicket is behaving. He also tells us what the batsman is trying to do. So that kind of gives you an idea even before you bowl, instead of me finding out after bowling two or three overs." Chahal said, "He's been captain, he's played for so many years and has a wealth of experience. He watches the batsmen closely. He's a batsman too, and knows what it is to play on such surfaces. Sometimes when I have a plan that is different to what he thinks, we discuss it. It's not like he rejects our plan. Then we formulate a plan B." and signed off.