‘Attack, attack, attack’ - Virat Kohli’s message to Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal, the Indian cricket team legspinner, has proved a roaring success in limited-overs cricket and attributes it to skipper Virat Kohli’s licence -- attack and take wickets, in an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times.

cricket Updated: Nov 13, 2017 09:08 IST
Siddhartha Sharma
Siddhartha Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Yuzvendra Chahal,Indian national cricket team,Virat Kohli
Yuzvendra Chahal says Virat Kohli’s attacking mindset and MS Dhoni’s planning skills have played a big hand in his success for the Indian cricket team.(BCCI)

One of the factors behind every successful leg-spinner is the faith shown in him by the captain. And India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal attributes his success to Virat Kohli’s unwavering confidence in him, and says that is what motivates him to bowl fearlessly.

The attacking leggie, who picked six wickets against Australia and four versus the Kiwis in the ODI series at home, said Kohli allowed him to go after wickets.

“Virat bhai has always told me that even if I concede runs, if I get him a couple of wickets in the middle overs, he won’t mind. In T20s, he told me if I go for 35 runs in 4 overs but pick two or three wickets, he will be happy.

“However, in the last T20 at Trivandrum, in my second over, the plan was (to restrict) not to go for wickets because if I attacked, I would have had to flight the ball and either I would have got a wicket or got hit for a six,” Yuzvendra Chahal, 27, told Hindustan Times over phone from the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

Chahal’s Gambit

Kohli’s constant push for wickets also saw Chahal play a defining role in the ODI series decider against the Kiwis at Kanpur. Despite Colin Munro and Ross Taylor putting Indian bowlers under pressure, Chahal helped India win the series with a brilliant spell of 2/47.

Yuzvendra Chahal has achieved great success in 2017 and his ability to bowl well in the death overs has helped Virat Kohli immensely. (REUTERS)

A junior chess international who switched to cricket, Chahal’s ability of stay steps ahead of the batsmen has helped his cause. And his battle against Kiwi opener Colin Munro was a classic example.

“Against Munro at Kanpur, I bowled a slower ball, he got beaten and there was an appeal for stumping. I got a clue he liked to stand and deliver, and doesn’t believe in leaning into his shot.

“I thought I could bowl a little up and if I am getting turn that will be my plus point. I wanted him to go over cover as it was inside the circle. The flight was good, it dipped and he played without leaning into the shot. The risk involved was very high.” Munro was bowled.

Known to pick wickets by bowling outside off-stump, the Haryana spinner’s recent spells show he has made middle-stump deliveries lethal as well. Glenn Maxwell and Kane Williamson fell to his wide variations; Munro and Guptill were beaten by flighted, middle-stump deliveries.

Yuzvendra Chahal has said MS Dhoni’s ability to plan brilliantly on the field has played a vital role in India’s success. (REUTERS)

Dhoni’s planning

“Our coaching staff has really helped (in attacking middle-stump). On the field, Mahi bhai (Dhoni) reads the situation very well, so he tells how to plan. The ball outside off-stump is a variation but my strength is to keep hitting the spot. At the same time if I am bowling slowly and the ball isn’t turning, the batsman is caught in two minds, (not sure) it will turn or not.”

Another reason why Chahal is preferred by Kohli could be his ability of bowl well in conditions where the ball gets wet because of dew. Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav struggled in Guwahati (T20 vs Australia) while Axar Patel too had some tough time. Chahal said it is his mental toughness that has helped him to tackle dew every time.

“Dew will be there at this time of the year, but I simply don’t think about it. If you do, your focus wavers from bowling. There is no point putting unnecessary pressure on you.

“You have to be mentally strong and back yourself saying ‘I will bowl well no matter what’. Once you do that the thought of tackling dew goes away completely. Then you can focus on how to plan a batsman’s dismissal.”

However, Chahal praised Axar for his accuracy and ability to contain runs that gives him and Kuldeep the opportunity to attack. “Axar, although he is not a great turner of the ball, contains runs. Then I and Kuldeep can take our chances.”

The Sri Lanka series is approaching and the opposition batsmen are making a lot of noise about playing the sweep shot, but Chahal laughed. “They knew what happened in Sri Lanka. Sweep is the last resort and will be employed when you don’t have any other shot. We have our bases covered.”

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 08:55 IST