A lot will depend on the Indian spinners when the Shikhar Dhawan-led white ball side begins its campaign against Sri Lanka next week.
The 20-member squad has a variety of options in right-arm leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy; right-arm offspinner Krishnappa Gowtham, left-arm offspinner Krunal Pandya and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav.
Chahal, who is one of the senior members of the squad has a huge responsibility on his shoulders and he is up for the challenge. “I have worked with Rahul Sir during a couple of India A series. He has always told me to do whatever I want to do and be focused. I am the senior spinner here and I should apply more focus and guide the youngsters,” said Chahal during a media interaction on Thursday.
Four years ago, when the Virat Kohli led side had visited Sri Lanka, Chahal was included in the team after impressive performances against Zimbabwe and England - featuring a haul of six for 25 in a T20I in Bengaluru. On that Sri Lanka tour, Chahal had picked five wickets in four ODIs and three wickets in a one-off T20I. He has played 54 ODIs and T20Is for the national team.
However, Chahal hasn’t been a part of the playing eleven for the last four ODIs India has played. “Yes, I’m playing the ODI series after so long but we have already played two (intra-squad) practice matches here. We have been going to the stadium early in the morning to get used to the heat. It’s totally different compared to T20 and you are on the ground for three and a half hours. With one less fielder outside the circle, sometimes it is hard as someone can sweep and play over covers but I have played 50-plus matches so I have gotten used to all these things,” said Chahal, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL.
In recent times, Chahal’s performances have been questioned and talks of a dip in form have been doing the rounds. “About my performance, it didn’t dip or anything. In every match, you can’t perform. I try my level best and this series is a very important series for me. I want to perform here, then in the IPL and World Cup and I am focused on that thing only,” he said.
Many cricketers have used the time during the COVID-19-induced lockdown last year to add new skills to their arsenal. But Chahal looks to stick to what he knows the best. “I have a couple of variations and I am focusing on that only. You will see a more confident Yuzi in this series,” said Chahal.
- WPL 2024: Fatima Jaffer, the fascinating story of a rare ambidextrous bowler
- WPL 2024: Defending champion Mumbai Indians clashes against Delhi Capitals in tournament opener
- Qatar Open: Czech teenager Mensik stuns top seed Rublev to reach maiden ATP semifinal
- PVL 2024: Ahmedabad Defenders and Chennai Blitz continue winning form with consecutive victories
- Dubai Championships 2024: Swiatek takes out Zheng, Cirstea saves six match points in quarterfinal win over Vondrousova