‘Amazing to bowl with Kuldeep in tandem, hoping to do it again soon’: Yuzvendra Chahal
From the time they answered the Indian team management’s call for wrist spin as the way ahead in limited-overs cricket in 2017, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have established themselves as a formidable bowling pair.
Leg-spinner Chahal will be a key player for India if the T20 World Cup were to happen in Australia in October-November. In a chat, the 29-year-old spoke about his routine since cricket came to a standstill, including lessons on how to shake a leg during the lockdown.
The South Africa ODI series was called off mid-March and we went into a lockdown soon after. How have you coped?
I follow a strict exercise regimen in the morning. The programme has been given by the India fitness trainer, and I have followed that during the lockdown. I have also been hooked on to PS4 and PUBG. I recently enrolled for online dance classes—for three days a week I learn different types of dances. I have found this hobby.
What are the challenges of staging IPL13 if it does take place this year amid Covid-19?
The most challenging (for us) would be playing without fans at the ground. We are used to having packed grounds in IPL. It remains to be seen how things unfold and how the tournament is conceived, whenever it happens.
How do you look at your partnership with Kuldeep since you started bowling together for India?
We’ve known each other for many years as we played junior cricket together. It is good our off-field rapport translates on the ground. We trust each other pretty well and have belief in each other’s game. I would say we have both grown as cricketers and matured. It’s amazing to bowl in tandem as we put pressure on batsmen from both ends. I really look forward to bowling alongside him soon.
How is it taking over the baton from R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh?
I played with Bhajji paaji for three years in the Mumbai Indians. He has been a great influence. I have learnt from him how to be aggressive as a spinner and attack the batsman. Ashwin bhai is a consistent bowler. I hope I can follow in their footsteps and serve India for a long period.
Do you see yourself playing Tests?
Test cricket is the most challenging. In recent years, Ashwin bhai and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) plus Kuldeep have done well for India. I too want to play Tests but for that I need to play more red-ball cricket at domestic level. I have played just 31 first-class games. I need to spend more time bowling in Ranji Trophy perhaps and also make an impression.
How is your rapport with Virat Kohli, also your captain at RCB, and Rohit Sharma?
Both are legends. I have played U-15 cricket with Virat paaji. He is exceptional when it comes to discipline, setting an example and motivating others. Even if I am being hit by a batsman, Virat turns to me and talks me out of that negative mindset. That rapport is also there when we play for RCB. Virat and Rohit bhai are like elder brothers. Both have achieved so much for India. They inspire all of us.