T20 World Cup selection debate: Yuzvendra Chahal one-dimensional, often lacks control despite being an IPL behemoth | Crickit

T20 World Cup selection debate: Yuzvendra Chahal one-dimensional, often lacks control despite being an IPL behemoth

Apr 23, 2024 01:56 PM IST

Yuzvendra Chahal is making heads turn with his performances in the IPL, but it may not be convincing enough to book him a place in India's T20 World Cup squad.

There is no doubt Yuzvendra Chahal is an IPL legend. In the ongoing season, he is one of the reasons why Rajasthan Royals, who haven’t won the IPL since the inaugural edition in 2008, are sitting pretty at the top of the table with seven wins in eight matches with one foot in the play-offs.

Yuzvendra Chahal is good but India have better options in Kuldeep Yadav and probably even Axar Patel. (PTI)
Yuzvendra Chahal is good but India have better options in Kuldeep Yadav and probably even Axar Patel. (PTI)

Chahal last played a T20I for India in August 2023 against the West Indies and returned figures of 0/51 at Lauderhill. However, his exploits in the 2024 IPL have given rise to discussions if he should be part of the 15-member Indian squad for the World T20 to be held in the West Indies and the United States in June.

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Chahal, who became the first bowler in the history of the league to take 200 wickets during the Rajasthan Royals-Mumbai Indians match on Monday night which the Royals comfortably won, has taken 13 wickets in eight matches so far. His start to the season was simply fabulous. He took wickets and was very economical in the first few matches. But in recent matches, he has been on the wane conceding a lot of runs, particularly in the last two matches against Kolkata Knight Riders (1/54) and Mumbai Indians (1/48).

Chahal is competing with Kuldeep Yadav for a place in the squad. But the advantage Kuldeep has over Chahal is that the chinaman bowler has been a regular for the Indian team in recent months across all formats. No prizes for guessing. Kuldeep has been performing for the Indian team, helping them win matches.

Besides, in the ongoing IPL, Kuldeep has taken 10 wickets in five games at an economy rate of 7.70. Chahal's economy, on the other hand, is 8.83. That's a big turn-off. That and the fact he has been out of the Indian team system for a while has compromised his case not a little. To catch the selectors' eye, he had to be consistent with his performances which is sadly not the case.

The other two spinning contenders are Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel but both bring a lot more to the table being all-rounders. They are good spinners – six wickets in eight games at an economy rate of 6.82 for Patel and four wickets in seven games at an economy rate of 7.84 for Jadeja so far – and besides they are very potent with the bat. In the field, they are one of the best fielders India have at present.

Chahal hasn't upgraded with time

The big trouble with Chahal is that he is one-dimensional. He is a lion-hearted bowler but when it comes to batting or fielding, Chahal doesn't inspire much confidence. Even Kuldeep has improved a lot in the batting department in recent months as well as a fielder, and in crunch situations, one can expect a couple of big hits from him.

Fans will remember Amit Mishra who was a fabulous leg-spinner. He was a big-hearted bowler who didn't bowl to contain batsmen. He bowled to send them back into the dugout. Chahal is pretty similar at the start of his spell, but the problem is once batsmen start attacking him, he becomes defensive.

It's true the T20 format is particularly very cruel to bowlers but in the face of assault, it has been noticed multiple times that Chahal doesn't look to have a Plan B, be it in the IPL or international cricket. There is a reason why his economy rate is 8.19 across 80 T20 internationals. Kuldeep's across 35 games is 6.74, on the other hand.

So when all is said and done, Chahal is definitely a contender but it's unlikely the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee is going to find him a place in the squad. If truth be told, Chahal was indeed impressive in his first few years in international cricket but over time he has failed to upgrade himself. One last thing, Chahal can be more effective on bigger grounds as he showed in Australia a few years ago, but sadly for him, selections don't happen on those points.

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