Piyush Chawla has seen the game evolve over a decade and at a very young age at that. It seems like yesterday when he was picked by Rahul Dravid in 2007 for the Natwest one day series in England, for his ability to bowl quick legspinners with immense accuracy. Rahul has an eye for talent, but the journey hasn't been the same as his captain then and Piyush must have envisioned and hoped for.
Recently the Kolkata Knight Riders wrist spinner talked in an interview with SportsKeeda and said all things cricket.
Piyush who has seen the humongous transition from teams preferring finger spinners over his art to a time now, when most teams have a wrist spinner they bank on. He understands this change and the reason for it, "Leg-spinners have always been an attacking option. Earlier, batsmen never used to take as many chances: even against finger spinners, they used to block deliveries. Leg-spinners used to leak runs but also pick up wickets"
"Nowadays, the game has become so fast that no matter who's bowling, everyone leaks runs. Leggies give you an extra advantage of picking up wickets: the best way to contain any team is to get wickets and wrist spin gives you the biggest advantage in that sense"
There are thoughts that wrist spin is only excelling in limited overs cricket and Test cricket, for bowlers other than Yasir Shah, is a different cattle of fish. Piyush doesn't think so, "Not at all. The best way to contain the batsman is by picking up wickets. If you'd have noticed, this season also, I bowled the most of my overs in the Powerplays. In the Powerplay overs, it is not easy for anyone to bowl, be it a pacer or spinner. If a leg-spinner is bowling with variations, he has more chances of picking up wickets. My role never changes as a leg-spinner"
Piyush has always come across as more a googly bowler than the one who conventionally bowls the leg-cutter and mixes it with variations. He knows this criticism of his and said, "If you are a conventional leg-spinner, you don't get that much pace on your leg-spin. With the wrong 'un, the natural angle you get gives you more pace on your deliveries"
"It also depends on where you're playing as well, varying wicket to wicket. If I am playing in Bangalore, where the wicket has become quite slow these days, or if I am playing on a wicket like Hyderabad, I can still bowl slower in the air. Where I need pace, 50-55% of my deliveries are wrong 'uns"
KKR is a team, Piyush has become an innate part of. He enjoyed playing another Indian Premier League season for them this year.
"It was really good for the Kolkata Knight Riders if you leave out the odd games. It is bound to happen in T20s: there are few games for you to win and you lose them, and there are some games you feel you are not making it to the top, and you still end up winning them. Overall, we played some really good cricket as a team. On a personal front, I had a fantastic IPL, if you look at the number of overs I bowled this season, I bowled the most difficult overs. Going less than 8.5 runs per over and bowling in the power-plays, I think I can pat myself on the back"
Piyush had a fine domestic season this year and hopes it keep his hope alive of making it back to the Indian Team one day.
"The passion and love for the game. Even when I started playing cricket, I never thought I have to play it professionally. I started playing for the love of the game. I knew this is something that I enjoy. It is still the same for me. I still go to the field and enjoy it like I used to as a kid"
"Looking at the numbers from my Ranji season, I took 30+ wickets, then took a good number of wickets in the Vijay Hazare, and followed it up with a great IPL. There's always a chance, and one must never lose hope. There are a few things beyond my control. I am only working on the process and doing my best. Rest of the things that are not under my control, I am not even thinking about it. If it happens it is good, but if it doesn't go my way, I'll still put in more effort"
(Inputs from SportsKeeda)