Speaking to the media after India’s eight wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the third ODI in Vishakhapatnam to clinch the three match series 2-1, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was all praise for his compatriot Kuldeep Yadav, while he refused to get drawn into comparisons with senior spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Chahal said that Ashwin and Jadeja were years ahead of him and Yadav in terms of development and involvement in the team, and that it would be unfair to compare as they had proved themselves over the years. “Ashwin and Jadeja have done so much in the last 5-6 years. We have played only for four-five series. It is unfair to compare myself and Kuldeep with them. Our aim is to give our best when we go out and play. If you start comparing now itself to them, it will not be right. We have played most of our games in India, one series in Sri Lanka but the conditions were similar to India. We have not played overseas,” he said.
Ashwin and Jadeja, who are still India’s regular spinners in Test matches have lost out their place in the ODIs to the young spin duo of Yadav and Chahal. Chahal has played 17 ODIs and 12 T20 internationals for India, but said that his eventual aim was to represent the country in Test matches. He said, “Test cricket is everybody’s dream. I played seven games in the Ranji Trophy last year. Before this, I had played just one or two games. When I played last year, I performed well and it gave me confidence that I could play at the highest level. I have a habit of taking it one series at a time. I am not thinking about South Africa at all. My next focus will be the Twenty20 series.”
Chahal also spoke about variations in his bowling and controlling the speed at which he was releasing the ball at times. “One has to mix-up pace in ODIs. If the batsman is batting well, variation is the key. From the end I was bowling, I was not getting that much turn. My plan was to vary my pace as it will become difficult for the batsman to score,” he said.
Chahal said he was looking forward to playing on bouncy South African wickets, while being excited about the possibilities available for a spinner on such tracks. “The wickets in South Africa will be good and flat but there will be some extra bounce. That is the plus point there. We have a break for a month after the T20I series and the focus will be to prepare on similar kind of wickets.”
Finally, the leg-spinner gave his thoughts on the captaincy styles of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, while describing the ball he dismissed Angelo Matthews with as the best ball he had bowled in the third ODI. “One cannot compare both individuals. Virat’s captaincy is different and so is Rohit’s. Our main focus is on our bowling. We discuss the fielding positions. We can discuss things with Rohit and MS Dhoni also chips in. There was no such difference.”
“I was getting some turn from the other end while bowling quickly or slowly. I was wanting to vary my pace. When you bowl flatter, the batsman thinks that the ball will not turn much. The ball to Mathews drifted in and turned away by which he played down the wrong line and got beaten. It was the ball of the match for me.”