Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
NEW DELHI: Indian spinner
is slowly getting back to his regular routine. Chahal, who is currently in his Gurugram residence in Haryana, gets up early in the morning and goes to a nearby ground, places cricket stumps and starts bowling.
The 30-year-old is back to some sort of training after over three-and-a-half months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, he prefers bowling four to five overs and then does his regular exercise. He is increasing the number of overs he bowls in a day after every two or three days to get into the groove.
“I’m doing my regular training and gym work at home. A few days ago I went for my first practice at a nearby ground. I really wanted to hit the ground as it has been more than three months. I bowled only four or five overs. I want to get into the groove as soon as possible. I am glad that IPL is starting,”
told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
“I think what we (Indian cricketers) are short on the most is stamina, as we all have been at home for more than three months. When you go under the sun and play, it is challenging. Because your body is not used to that right now. It may take about two weeks for a player to get into the groove.” Chahal said.
Apart from regular practice and exercise, Chahal is also in touch with the Indian team’s fielding coach R Sridhar.
“I am in touch with my trainers and coaches. They have chalked out some training modules for me. I follow those at home. It is very important to remain fit and focussed. Sometimes, I speak with my fielding coach R Sridhar sir. He does video chats with me. He gives me a lot of tips. Apart from him, I am in touch with my team-mates. We share jokes and our past performances with each other. It’s fun to chat with team-mates of the same age group like Kuldeep and Shreyas,” Chahal, who has taken 146 international wickets so far, told TimesofIndia.com.
THE DESIRE TO PLAY TEST CRICKET
Chahal made his international debut in June 2016 and since then the leg-spinner has played 52 ODIs and 42 T20Is. One of the major spin weapons in
‘s armoury along with Chinaman bowler
, Chahal has picked 91 ODI and 55 T20I wickets in his career so far.
With India scheduled to travel to Australia for a four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series at the end of the year along with a limited overs series, details of which are being chalked out, Chahal will be an automatic choice in the limited overs squad. The leg-spinner, who has cemented his place in the limited overs cricket in a short period of time, though is eager to grab the red cherry in Australia.
“In the last 8 Ranji Trophy matches I have bagged 46 wickets. In those matches, I bowled 20 to 25 overs of spell. I never thought along the lines of red ball or white ball cricket. I just go and enjoy my game. Whatever opportunity comes my way, I love to grab it. I am ready for every opportunity,” Chahal said.
“I have played ODIs and T20Is but when someone calls you a Test player, it is a different feeling all together. In ODIs and T20Is, you know that the batsman will hit you for boundaries and sixes and you have to stop him by taking wickets or not allow him to go over the top. But in Tests, you have to get him out at any cost. That’s the biggest challenge. Test cricket needs a lot of patience. I believe I have the patience and composure to play Test cricket,” the confident leg-spinner who hails from Jind in Haryana said.
The four Tests in Australia are scheduled to be played at The Gabba (Brisbane), Adelaide Oval (Adelaide), MCG (Melbourne) and SCG (Sydney).
“I have played just one match in Australia (Melbourne ODI). But I have played a decent amount of cricket in New Zealand. I really liked to bowl in New Zealand because of the bouncy wickets. If you see my records in ODIs and T20Is, the overseas records are much better than India. I think I can do better on Australian tracks,” Chahal told TimesofIndia.com.
VIRAT’S GUIDANCE AND BONDING WITH ROHIT
Chahal has always heaped praise on the Indian captain Kohli for giving him opportunities and the freedom to play his brand of cricket on the field. Apart from Kohli, Chahal also shares a good bonhomie with the India’s limited-overs vice-captain
, as is evident from their funny exchanges and light-hearted banter on social media posts
“Virat bhaia always supports me. I have been playing under him for six years. He gives me a lot of freedom. He gives us the liberty to set our own fields. When your captain gives you full liberty, you get a lot of confidence and motivation. He supports me both off and on the field. I can go to him at any point of time and share anything,” Chahal said.
“I know I call him Rohitaaa (laughs). I really share very good bonding with him (Rohit Sharma). I first played with him during
days in 2011. Since then we are very close. I learnt a lot from him. He is a world-class batsman. We always chill together and he is like a family member. I call him big brother. I really enjoy it a lot when he is around,” a smiling Chahal further told TimesofIndia.com.
CHAHAL IN A DIFFERENT AVATAR
During the lockdown, Chahal’s dance videos did the rounds of social media platforms. He made funny videos, played with his pet dogs and enjoyed time with his family.
“I’m just enjoying my family time after like 14 to 15 years. I got this break after a long time and wanted to make full use of it. I recently built a new house in Gurgaon and we shifted here in November. I am learning dance from a choreographer. I choose one song – Punjabi or Hindi – and learn those steps. I am a very good dancer now (laughs),” the 30-year-old said.
“I have adopted two dogs. They are like my kids. The smaller one is Scotty, a German Shepherd. Another one is Brute. I have got him from a shelter in Bangalore. And it has been more than a year that I have turned vegetarian. I took this step because I am an animal lover. Once I adopted the dogs, I turned vegetarian. I am eating more vegetables now,” Chahal signed off.