‘Can’t play both at the same time,’ How Yuzvendra Chahal prioritised cricket over chess
India legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal has revealed the difficulties he faced as a youngster in balancing chess and cricket and the circumstance that led to him picking up cricket as a career.
Chahal, before carving a career for India in cricket was a brilliant chess player, participating in Nationals and representing India at the World Youth Chess Championship. But as the ventured into cricket, Chahal struggled to strike a balance between the two sports and made up his mind to concentrate on one.
“I played my first nationals of Chess in 1998 and at that time I was playing cricket as well. You can’t play both sports at the same time. For Chess, you need 10 – 12 hours of training and then 6 – 8 hours for cricket was getting very difficult. So, when I came back from the World Cup, I told my father I will focus only on cricket.” Chahal told S Badrinath on the show Mind Masters by MFORE on Star Sports.
Reports have surfaced that not finding sponsors somewhat played a role in Chahal leaving behind a career in chess. However, as Chahal has become an integral part of India’s limited-overs setup, the legspinner reckons there are certain similarities between cricket and chess believing patience plays a key role in both these sports.
“In chess you require a lot of patience as every match is about 6 – 7 hours and you’re playing sitting at one place without speaking much. Similarly, in cricket you sometimes bowl so well but don’t get wickets. So, you have to be patient and keep it in your mind that you are bowling well and you’ll probably get wickets in the next spell,” he mentioned.