Australian batsmen pushed them out of their comfort zones, handing a rude reality check, but Yuzvendra Chahal is confident that one indifferent series will not affect his and Kuldeep Yadav’s performance at the World Cup.
Despite his good show in New Zealand, Chahal played only one game against Australia, where he was a touch unlucky due to shoddy fielding before Ashton Turner took him to cleaners.
“I don’t think we need to worry too much about the Australia series. We have played enough matches against them. Obviously, you can’t win every game that you play. The manner in which Australian batsmen played us, they deserved to win. We should laud their effort and try to do better when we face them next time,” Chahal told PTI during an interview before leaving for England.
In the 2-3 defeat, what was worrying was how Kuldeep and Chahal were being easily read and no longer was the team management playing both in tandem. It was Ravindra Jadeja who was favoured ahead of Chahal.
Asked if the last few months have been different from the first 18 months, Chahal replied in affirmative.
“I don’t see anything different in the past six months when either me or Kuldeep played in the XI. I think most of the times when we both played. It’s all about the team combination and what exactly is required in specific conditions,” he said.
The flat decks in England could be a nightmare for bowlers but the 28-year-old Haryana leg-spinner is hardly perturbed, having played a lot of cricket on the Bengaluru belter.
“I am not at all worried about the flat tracks in England as we are used to playing ODI cricket on flat tracks. And please don’t forget that I myself play a lot of matches every year at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, which is one of the best batting tracks,” said Chahal, who has 72 wickets from 41 ODIs with two five-wicket hauls.
“And also when we are talking about flat tracks, if as a bowler I am under pressure, even the opposition bowlers will be under equal amount of pressure when we would be batting.”
Chahal’s biggest asset has been his big heart as he is not afraid to flight the ball even when he is under attack and that’s the mindset which helps him against marauders like Andre Russell and David Warner.
“Against the best batsmen, you can’t have a defensive strategy. When you are bowling to a Russell or a Warner, you shouldn’t think about containing them. They are such players, you have to attack them and in my mind, every delivery that I bowl to these players is to get them out. I want each and every ball that I bowl to to be my best delivery,” said Chahal.
The 18 wickets in this year’s IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore will certainly boost his confidence as there is nothing like taking good form into a big event like IPL.
“Obviously, it was very important to do well in IPL. Before a marquee tournament like World Cup, a good IPL acts as a confidence booster.”
Before moving to competitive cricket, Chahal had represented age-group national team in chess competition, a game that has probably helped him evolve as a master craftsman.
He fondly recollected the days when he would watch a Vladmir Kramnik vs Vishwanathan Anand or Anand vs Kasparov games on Youtube.
“When I used to play competitive chess, I would buy chess books and read the moves made by Anand in specific ties. It would help my game. I would also watch his matches on Youtube. Now I don’t get the time,” he said.
His life has changed in the past two years with fame and adulation which is a normal for any player doing well for the national cricket team.
“When you play for India and also start performing, your fan base increases, the media highlights your performances. You feel a sense of positivity with all the praise and adulation that comes your way.
“I feel the need to connect with my fans and my maiden association with lifestyle brand CheQmate. We thought about the name because everyone knows that I used to be a chess player during my younger days,” he signed off.