'I’m used to it now… it’s been three World Cups': Chahal opens up on losing India spot to Kuldeep, Ashwin

Oct 02, 2023 08:09 AM IST

For the first time since the two big squad selections for India, Chahal has opened up on the World Cup omission.

Late last month, India had announced their 17-member squad, along with a travelling reserve, for the Asia Cup, and while the regulars made the list with no surprise selection, there was a notable omission from the team, of that of Yuzvendra Chahal. Veteran cricketers in Harbhajan Singh was left baffled at the move from India but believed that the spinner will be back for the World Cup. But even as there was a late opening in the squad, Chahal was snubbed yet again. For the first time since the two big squad selections for India, Chahal has opened up on the World Cup omission.

Team India's Yuzvendra Chahal in action during the T20I series in West Indies in August(AP)
Team India's Yuzvendra Chahal in action during the T20I series in West Indies in August(AP)

In June of 2016, Chahal had made his debut in the ODI format and has picked 121 wickets, the third-most by an Indian bowler and second among spinners after Kuldeep Yadav during the period, in 72 appearances which includes two five-wicket hauls. The leggie, who has since been India's mainstay option in white-ball cricket, was also the highest wicket-taker among spinners in the 2019 World Cup, which was thoroughly dominated by fast bowlers, with 12 wickets in eight games with one four-wicket haul.

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Speaking to Wisden India, Chahal revealed that it was sheer disappointment at missing out on the World Cup squad, but then laughed it off mentioning that it has now happened to him thrice in his career.

“I understand that only fifteen players can be a part, because it’s a World Cup, where you can’t take 17 or 18,” Chahal said. “I do feel a little bad, but my motto in life is to move on. I’m used to it now… it’s been three World Cups (laughs). ”

Chahal had earlier missed the cut for the 2021 T20 World Cup despite an impressive IPL season that year, and while he was picked in the 2022 team, he did not get a single game. For the 2023 ODI World Cup, slated to begin from October 5 in India, Chahal was snubbed with India opting for Kuldeep as the primary spin option with Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel as the spin-bowling all-rounders.

There was indeed a late opening in the squad, with Axar getting injured during Asia Cup, but the selectors tested Ashwin, who until then did not play a single ODI match in 20 months, and Washington Sundar, in the home series against Australia. A week later, Axar was ruled out of the World Cup squad and India went with the experience in Ashwin for the home tournament.

Chahal also opened up on losing the World Cup spot to Kuldeep and Ashwin saying that he understands the dynamics of selection and that the goal remains to perform to the best of his abilities whenever offered the chance.

“I don’t think too much in that sense [on competing with other spinners in the Indian team’, because I know if I perform well, I’ll play,” Chahal said. “Someone or the other will eventually replace you in the future. That time will come someday.”

“I take up the challenge in this way: definitely, they are doing well and I appreciate that. The main goal is that India should win, because this is not an individual game.”

“If I am part of the team or not, they are like my brothers. Obviously, I support India [team]. I like the challenge: it tells me I need to work hard so that I come back.”

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