When England Toured India And Some of Our Spinners Were Injured I Felt My Name May Pop Up: Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal was one of India’s biggest match-winners with the ball in limited overs cricket for a couple of years between 2017 and 2019 but since then has seen his fortunes take a dramatic downturn especially in T20 cricket. He has failed to pick wickets in the middle overs and has also seen his economy rise alarmingly since 2019. However, the leg spinner had bagged a few wickets in first-class cricket and was hopeful of making his Test debut for India during the home series against England but was left disappointed.
Chahal was a wicket-taker for India in limited overs cricket and returned with many match-defining performances for the country in 2017 and 2018. He formed a formidable pair with left arm Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and the pair bamboozled many opposition line-ups all around the world and were a lethal combination for India in the middle overs. However, the leg spinner witnessed a dramatic dip in his form post 2019.
He could pick just 18 wickets in 21 matches for India in T20I cricket post 2019 at an average of 41.66 and economy rate of 9.14. His ODI numbers also changed for the worse post 2020. Chahal, who was the highest wicket-taker amongst spinners in IPL 2020, had a poor tournament this season for the Challengers.
However, the leg break specialist was still hopeful of making his first appearance in whites for India during the home series against England earlier this year. With Ravindra Jadeja ruled out of the series due to injury, Chahal was almost certain he would make it to the Indian squad.
“When England toured India and some of our spinners were injured, I felt somewhere that my name may pop up,” stated a disappointed Chahal.
Instead the selectors decided to recall Axar Patel and included Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav in the contingent as support spinners. Axar bagged a heap of wickets and was one of the highest impact bowlers for India in the series.
“You see Axar came in and did well. Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep are already there, so you feel that 3-4 players are already in the reckoning and it will be difficult for you to get a chance. Especially when they are performing so well. Ashwin bhaiyya completed 400 Test wickets and Jaddu Pa has over 250 wickets. Looking at them you feel that you have to improve more to get a chance,” said Chahal.
Chahal admitted that he did not see himself boarding the flight to England for the final of the WTC and the Test series thereafter but was hopeful of a maiden call up in the home series against England.
The leg spinner added that he had picked around 50 first-class wickets in 10 matches in the last three to four years which included 10 in two A-games for India and was hoping that his performances would be recognized and he would get to make his debut in Test cricket.
“Obviously, you want to wear the whites. If someone calls you a Test player, there is no bigger compliment. In the last 3-4 years, I have picked 50 wickets in the ten first-class matches, out of which two are India A games,” quoted Chahal.