Yuzvendra Chahal Exclusive: From chess board to 22-yard strip

Yuzvendra Chahal,India vs Pakistan match,ICC World Cup 2019,ICC World Cup,Royal Challengers Bangalore

Earlier, most of the experts didn’t really valued the importance of spin bowlers in the One Day International format until the India-Pakistan match in 2017. Then, they began to realise the need to retain bowlers who could take wickets in the middle overs. Everyone’s focus shifted thereafter. That’s when it hit me. This is my opportunity to fulfil my dream! Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a part of the World Cup team, which is why this one (World Cup 2019) will be forever etched in my memory.

As a child, I was interested in both cricket and chess. But I never got the chance to pursue a career in chess due to the lack of sponsorship. So, cricket was all that I was left with, and that’s where I channelled my energy. Surprisingly, there are a lot of similarities between cricket and chess. In chess, I had to think of what my opponent was going to do before I could plot my next move. In cricket, I observe the movements of the batsmen and try to decipher what kind of ball he is expecting, before I decide what kind of delivery I should bowl.

That’s where we draw the line between a good bowler and a great bowler. A good bowler knows what kind of delivery is required to prevent the batsmen from scoring runs, but a great bowler knows what kind of delivery the batsmen is expecting and bowling a different one to get the wicket.

People underestimate the importance of patience in cricket, rather than any sport. When I was a part of the Mumbai Indians team, back in 2008, I got to play just one match in three seasons. It was not until the 2011 Twenty20 Champions League that I became a regular on the team. I can imagine a number of people who, if put in my situation, would eventually give up. But chess taught me patience, both on and off the field.

Right before the Champions League final, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, I knew that now is my time to shine. It felt like a now or never moment, and in that match, I took two wickets for nine runs. I might have not won the Man of the Match award, but I feel like that innings was my moment. All throughout my cricketing career, I drew inspiration from the lessons that I learnt in chess.

However, I learnt the most valuable lesson in my career through cricket, and the latest campaign by Daniel Wellington reiterates that philosophy: no one else decides your perfect moment, it is you who lives it, and that makes you the sole entity, who has the power to decide which one is it going to be.

Chahal has penned this exclusive article for InsideSport.co as part of an understanding between the sports business news portal and Daniel Wellington.

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