Ajit Chandila has a unique distinction in his cricketing resume. He’s the only bowler to dismiss both Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in a single game. That, however, despite the off-spinner’s insistence, isn’t his biggest feat in the T20 domestic league. A hat-trick in his very second game last season and being the most stingy bowler (with a minimum 15 over cut-off) this season outweigh the accomplishment that’s closest to his heart for obvious reasons. Despite the reasonable run in the league, interspersed with feats mentioned above, his doesn’t ring a bell loud enough for the followers of the game to place him outside the league.
And they, too, can’t be faulted, for the Rajasthan Royals off-spinner goes into hibernation once the league ends, only to emerge by the time next edition comes along. Of course, he does play club cricket for Air India, but the soon-to-be 30 off-spinner from Haryana has mere two first-class games to show for all the years before he was discovered by the Royals last year. Clearly, the league has been a boon for him and others failing to make it in the traditional cricket.
So, what has made him click in the T20 format? The bowler will tell you it’s all about landing the ball in the right spot, drying up the runs, building up the pressure and then, hopefully, pick up a wicket. He appears every bit the most sought-after modern mystery off-spinners, with all their attributes, minus the variations.
“He doesn’t spin the ball much but his control over the new ball is remarkable. He has bowled a lot for Air India with the new ball and that experience is helping him. Besides, his ability to skid the ball and stick to line and length, too, make it difficult for batsmen to go after him,” said Manoj Sharma, the Air India team manager. The off spinners will, however, face his sternest test on Monday when he squares up against Chris Gayle.