Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been taking wickets on a consistent basis and it is now proving to be handy during India’s ongoing ODI series against South Africa. He has picked seven wickets in the first two ODIs against South Africa including his maiden 5-fer in the second ODI.
The Haryana spinner asserted that the skipper and team management back him to go for wickets in the middle overs, and he doesn’t mind being hit for a few runs. He said, “I go for wickets and I flight the ball. I know it can go for six too, but when your captain and your team management back you, it gives you the confidence to do it. I have played in Bangalore for RCB on flatter wickets than this, so you have to play to your strengths here.”
He further added, “If you worry about the batsmen or their stature, then you cannot play to your strengths. This is a routine for me. In IPL too, I have gone for 40 runs in 4 overs. But even then I feel that I have been hit on good balls. I don’t bowl to escape with the cheap economy. My strength is to bowl to take wickets and that is why I am on the team.”
Chahal took career-best 5-22 as South Africa once again succumbed in the second ODI at Centurion. He along with Kuldeep Yadav took eight as the Proteas were bowled out for 118 runs, their lowest ODI score on home turf. The duo came on to bowl after the first 10 overs and triggered South Africas collapse after they were placed at 51/1 at one stage.
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Talking about his partnership with Kuldeep, Yuzvendra said, “Whenever Kuldeep or I come on to bowl, we only think about taking wickets. We are on the team to take wickets in middle overs. We don’t mind giving away 65-70 runs in 10 overs but if we can take 2-3 wickets that’s more helpful from our point of view. If we take wickets in middle overs then you will see the opposition is under pressure.”
Though he has toured South Africa with India A, Chahal said he doesn’t worry about the conditions. He said, “Last year, we toured South Africa as part of the India-A team. It was winter time here then, but we had a little idea how the grounds are and how the wickets play. Obviously, you also see videos and matches nowadays so you get an idea. But, Kuldeep and I only think about what is controllable and in our hands. We don’t worry about conditions or pitches too much.”
This is the first major overseas tour for both Chahal and Kuldeep. They have previously toured Zimbabwe (2016) and West Indies (2017) respectively, but facing South Africa in South Africa was expected to be a greater challenge for them. So far, they have taken 13 out of 20 wickets in two matches between them.
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When asked about how they have adjusted to these overseas conditions, Chahal replied, “Playing on these grounds and wickets, you have to bowl a little slower. The grounds are small and they have big hitters. There are times when we have to bowl fast but that depends on the situation. There is also bounce available on these pitches. That’s why Kuldeep and I vary our pace because you won’t get the turn you get in India. The ball won’t turn from under the bat.”
Last but not the least, Yuzvendra Chahal spoke about the influence of both Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, he described, “Virat bhai tells us it doesn’t matter if we are hit for a six, but we must bowl to our strength. When your captain tells you that, you don’t have to worry even if you have been hit for two or three sixes, you get confidence. From behind the stumps, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) always keeps advising you. He knows what the batsman is going to try. It makes it easier for us.”