His inclusion in the World Cup side led to raised eyebrows, but Piyush Chawla says it is a result of hard work and consistent performance. During a chat with Hindustan Times, the leg-spinner speaks of his plans for the mega event beginning next month.
Was it a surprise to figure in the final WC squad?
It felt good but wasn't a surprise. I was hopeful of getting picked considering I have the performance to justify my inclusion.
Yet, many feel it could be because of your proximity to MS Dhoni?
I performed well in the domestic circuit and had a decent outing in the IPL as well. There is no question of close ties helping me. I have been out of international action for some time but I've kept proving myself in the domestic arena. Selection to the national side is based on performance in domestic matches, isn't it?
The selectors view you as a handy bat as well. Are you working on that aspect too?
Of course, it has become very important for bowlers to contribute with the bat. That can be a deciding factor in the limited-overs format. If I can score 30-40 runs each time I step out with the bat, it will further our team's chances.
Will the conditions mean a difficult tournament for the bowlers?
It won't be difficult if the bowlers stick to the basics. I plan to bowl to my strengths. Yes, there will be big shots but the thing to remember is that chances of picking up wickets increase every time a batsman gets aggressive. It will get difficult if a bowler gets demoralised too soon.
There are expectations that you'll rise to the level of greats like L Sivaramakrishnan and Narendra Hirwani. What about the pressure on you?
I am Piyush Chawla and it is best if I try not to be someone else. There is pressure in a tournament as big as the World Cup but nothing that I won't be able to handle.
Teams that'll be tough to bowl to?
No favourites and there is no easy or difficult side here. Each team has its strategy and can prove difficult to beat if things work for it. It will be a great tournament for players and cricket lovers alike.