Chahal taking wings under Kohli’s leadership

“Wrist-spinners are mostly attacking and when your captain is so attacking you get freedom to attack more,” said Yuzvendra Chahal after his three-wicket haul against Australia in the 1st ODI at Chennai.

India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates after getting the wicket of Australia's Glenn Maxwell during the first one day international (ODI) cricket match at Chepauk.   -  PTI

 

As Yuzvendra Chahal was about to finish off the post-match media session, he was asked if he is actually an attacking wrist-spinner, or is it that, playing under an attacking skipper like Virat Kohli brings the best out of him.

Chahal smiled at the scribe and shot back: “Wrist-spinners are mostly attacking and when your captain is so attacking you get freedom to attack more.”

On a day, when he picked up three wickets to help India start the series on a winning note, Chahal added, “Sometimes we also have to take a step back. Then you change your plans.”

Even before the series got underway, the two wrist-spinners — Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal — have been making headlines with the Aussies leaving no stone unturned to crack the code. But Chahal admitted that all that attention doesn’t put them under pressure. “We (both him and Kuldeep) don’t think a lot about what’s happening around. We go by the situation and since both of us are attacking bowlers, we go for wickets. Depending on the match situation, we look at things,” the 27-year-old, said.

He also admitted that with Kuldeep in the other end, things become a bit easy for him. “If he bowls first, I tell him where the ball is spinning from and how we can get him out. Because we both look for wickets, there is no point in playing safe. You don’t win matches that way. If from a different end there is a bowler, he gets a chance,” he said.

Yuzvendra Chahal's Press meet

 

Having shot to fame after his performances for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chahal had the edge over Australian big-hitter Glenn Maxwell. He, however, credited it to the IPL experience. “I have bowled a lot to him (Maxwell) in the IPL. (Today) We had to spin him out. We couldn’t play defensive. It was important to change our lines. If he plays a good shot, that’s fine. If he scores outside off, then he could get out,” Chahal said.

But was there any advice from skipper Kohli?

“Kuldeep’s deliveries come in. So, Mahi bhai and Virat bhai asked me to push it outside and keep checking his feet. (Bowl) outside off and mix it up,” the wrist-spinner added.

Even though the bowlers turned the match in India’s way, it wouldn’t have been possible without the 118-run partnership between Hardik Pandya and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Chahal too admitted that. “The way wicket behaved, Mahi bhai and Pandya batted outstandingly. If we reached 230-240 and there was turn, we had Kuldeep and Kedar bhai.

“Obviously at 87 for 5, Australia were 70 per cent in the game. But the way they played, the momentum that came through Zampa’s over, and on this wicket 280 was a winning total. In the end, we bowled quite well,” is how he analysed the situation, where India was reeling after losing five wickets in only the 23rd over.

By his own admission, a wrist spinner ‘naturally gets a lot of turn’, but as there is naturally more rotation, Chahal prefers keeping it flat.

After the rain-delay curtailed the match, did they feel that Australia would find it easy chasing down 164?

Kuldeep nodded his head. “21 overs were advantageous to Australia. But the plus point was that the wicket turned and our start was good. We put pressure from the start,” he said.

After a good start, India would be hoping to keep the momentum going in the long series. Even Chahal would want that on a personal front.