Playing to his strengths irrespective of the conditions and focussing on taking wickets are the keys to his success, regards Yuzvendra Chahal.
Speaking after the match, the 27-year-old believes his experience of playing on flat decks at the Chinnaswamy Stadium for Royal Challengers Bangalore is proving to be fruitful while representing the national side.
“I go for wickets and I flight the ball,” the leg-spinner said after the match.” I know it can go for six too, but when your captain and your team management back you, it gives you the confidence to do it. I have played in Bangalore for RCB on flatter wickets than this, so you have to play to your strengths here.”
“If you worry about the batsmen or their stature, then you cannot play to your strengths. This is a routine for me. In IPL too, I have gone for 40 runs in 4 overs. But even then I feel that I have been hit on good balls. I don’t bowl to escape with cheap economy. My strength is to bowl to take wickets and that is why I am in the team,” he added.
The Haryana bowler was instrumental in India’s victory on Sunday (February 4), finishing with figures of 5/22 – his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs. South Africa were bowled out for just 118, courtesy of Chahal’s performance and Kuldeep Yadav chipping in with three wickets. The middle over spells by the spinners triggered the collapse of the South African batting line-up, which once looked in a healthy position at 51/1.
“Whenever Kuldeep or I come on to bowl, we only think about taking wickets. We are in the team to take wickets in middle overs.
“We don’t mind giving away 65-70 runs in 10 overs but if we can take 2-3 wickets thats more helpful from our point of view. If we take wickets in middle overs then you will see the opposition is under pressure,” Chahal said.
When asked about how they have adapted to these overseas conditions, Chahal replied, “Playing on these grounds and wickets, you have to bowl a little slower. The grounds are small and they have big hitters. As spinners, you cannot bowl faster, otherwise they will play you as medium pacers. There are times when we have to bowl fast but that depends on the situation.
“There is also bounce available on these pitches. If you bowl fast, the ball won’t turn and it will come on to the bat. That’s why Kuldeep and I vary our pace because you wont get the turn you get in India. The ball won’t turn from under the bat.
“So you have to keep the ball away from the bat so that it gets time to turn. Also you can then use the bounce on these pitches. Batsmen who don’t use their feet, you have to keep the ball a little bit away from them. Kuldeep and I discussed to bowl either right up or back of a length,” he added.
Chahal also spoke about the influence of both Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, who have been instrumental in guiding the two wrist-spinners in their short careers.
“Virat bhai tells us it doesn’t matter if we are hit for a six, but we must bowl to our strength. If your strength is to pitch it up, then go for it. When your captain tells you that, you don’t have to worry even if you have been hit for two or three sixes, you get confidence,” said Chahal.
“From behind the stumps, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) always keeps advising you. He knows what the batsman is going to try. It makes it easier for us,” he concluded.