IPL 2020: MI's Rahul Chahar relishing bowling conditions in UAE

Rahul Chahar spoke about the guidance he receives from Zaheer Khan and adjusting his length to the slowing pitches in the UAE during IPL 2020.

Rahul Chahar's performances have helped Mumbai Indians remain at the top end of the IPL 2020 table.   -  BCCI/IPLT20

When the Indian Premier League got underway last month, most teams thought that the wickets in the United Arab Emirates were quite similar to that of India.

And defending champion Mumbai Indians was no exception. “In the starting matches, we felt that the wickets (here) were similar to the Wankhede stadium - easy for batsmen,” the team’s young spinner Rahul Chahar said.

However, the perception has changed over the time. “Gradually, the wickets are getting slower, and I have to make adjustments in lengths accordingly,” he said ahead of his team’s fixture against Chennai Super Kings. 

“Like at Wankhede, a spinner had to bowl on a shorter side, like five meter length, but here we are bowling fuller, because the grounds are big and pitches are slightly slow, we can bowl fuller, and can attack batsmen,” the young gun, who has scalped 11 wickets in the tournament so far, said.

He also admits that with the grounds being bigger in the UAE, the wrist spinners have the edge. “Maybe, grounds are big, they (wrist spinners) are getting freedom and bowl freely, can give flight and it isn’t easy to hit a leg-spinner when he gives flight compared to other spinners, yes and hence they are successful,” he said.

He has been part of the side for a couple of years and whenever in trouble, he walks up to Zaheer Khan - the former India pacer, who is now the Director of Cricket at MI - for help. “I go to Zaheer bhaiyya because from last year, whatever he is telling me I could understand. He understands my type of bowling too and sometimes he sits for an hour when I am bowling.  Last year he took a separate session with me and told me the problems and solutions and I always go to him.

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“Initially I was bowling safe balls, I wasn’t attacking, but he kept on telling me that you are an attacking bowler and can take wickets, go attack, don’t worry if you are hit for a six, he gives me confidence and says bowl freely,” the young spinner said.

While sessions with Zaheer have helped him, Chahar also makes it clear that he loves playing attacking cricket. “I love to attack the job of a leg-spinner is to take wickets, so that feel comes, if I go to contain, I feel I should bowl one delivery which will fetch me a wicket,” he said.

“In the first season, a batsman or a bowler doesn’t know your weakness, but in the second season everyone reads and comes.

“....they are seeing the videos on how you bowl, what’s your thinking, so it is tough in the second season and you have to be smart and should read the batsman on where he is playing, then you have to remember where you bowled last year, it’s a mind game,” he said, hoping to keep the momentum going.

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