Having made his India debut in 2016, Yuzvendra Chahal has established himself as one of India’s leading spinners in white-ball cricket.
In 54 ODIs, Chahal has claimed 92 wickets so far while he has 62 scalps to his name from 48 T20Is. However, things have not gone his way lately.
In his last 10 T20Is, the wrist-spinner has taken 9 wickets while he has picked up 14 wickets from the last 10 ODIs. With the emergence of Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar and Akshar Patel, the pressure has also piled on Chahal to retain his place in the team.
In an exclusive chat with Timesofindia.com, Chahal though stated that he is still bowling well and his form has not gone down.
"I don't think so (on being out of form). I have been playing for so long now. I have been bowling in the IPL too. You can't take wickets in all the matches. There are times when the bowler goes wicketless in a couple of matches. That doesn't mean his form has dipped. In T20Is, one needs to bowl with full control. We need to control the flow of runs. So, it is tough to bowl in T20Is," Chahal said.
"People have got used to seeing me taking wickets. I have worked really hard to reach this level. I have impressed my fans by taking wickets. Obviously, when I am not taking wickets, there will be comparisons and fans will be disappointed. But my form hasn't dipped. It's just a matter of a couple of matches. This is just a phase for me. It happens with a batsman too when he is not able to score runs in 3 or 4 or 5 matches but after that, he starts scoring runs. You will see me back in wicket-taking mode again and that too very soon," he added.
Chahal formed a potent bowling partnership with Kuldeep Yadav during the 2017-19 period. The pair, referred as ‘Kulcha’ by the fans, used to run through the opposition batting line-up and kept R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja out of the limited-overs set-up for close to two years.
However, they are now struggling to feature in the playing XI together. The league match against England during the 2019 World Cup was the last time when Chahal and Kuldeep bowled in tandem for India.
As India’s second-string team is slated to tour Sri Lanka for a limited-overs series in July, Chahal and Kuldeep could be seen in action together.
"I am sure we (Kuldeep and I) will be in the eleven once again in Sri Lanka. I have been missing bowling alongside him (Kuldeep). We have bowled a lot of spells together. We enjoy each other's company. As you all call us 'KUL-CHA' (laughs), we want to continue to shine and win as many matches as we can for India. We have good coordination on the field and off the field as well. We understand each other. We have planned and taken so many wickets together. I am sure I will get the chance to bowl with him in Sri Lanka. I am looking forward to playing with him after a long time," Chahal said.
"We have a lot of options now. We have stars in our team. Be it batting, bowling, or fielding, we have a lot of options now. If we have to send three teams for different series, we can easily do that. I am really excited about the Sri Lanka tour. The pitches are so helpful for spinners there. I am looking at the Sri Lanka tour as preparation ahead of the T20 World Cup (later this year). I am really looking forward to it. Playing as many games as possible with the white ball will help me in the World T20. Since the World Cup will be happening in India, I am confident of having a good tournament," he further remarked.
(With TOI inputs)