After the first T20I, Yuzvendra Chahal revealed that he didn’t bowl any googlies to the right-handers because of the short-boundaries on the leg-side. While stating that there is competition for places, Chahal insisted on the need to keep it simple and perform well whenever given a chance.
At 23/1 after 2.3 overs, Sri Lanka were truly off to a great start, in their chase of 165 in the opening game of the three-match T20I contests. While Avishka Fernando and Dhananjaya de Silva were building up a decent partnership, Shikhar Dhawan introduced the leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal into the attack. Chahal immediately struck for the visitors, with a leg-spinner that drifted in and turned away, beating de Silva to all ends.
While that was the only wicket he got on the night, his bowling was far more subliminal than the wickets column could narrate. Throughout the innings, Chahal bowled the tough overs for the visitors, with the leg-side boundary being short. Despite boasting a plethora of variations, including the googly, the leg-spinner stuck to his stock delivery to force the hosts’ batsmen to strike it to the off-side, a ploy that yielded him several dot balls.
In the post-match press conference, the Haryana leg-spinner insisted that he didn’t try a lot of variations in the middle overs, aiming to keep it simple against the right-handers because of the shorter boundaries on the leg-side.
"The end I was bowling from, the leg side boundary was shorter and they were looking to hit that side. That's why I didn't bowl googlies to the right-handers. I didn't want to give them confidence, I thought that if I can bowl a lot of dot balls, pressure will build. So even if I don't get a wicket, my partner from the other end can bowl more freely,” Chahal stated, reported ESPNCricinfo.
“If I had tried to go for wickets, or tried something extra, and they had hit a six or four, the pressure would have automatically come on us, because the total wasn't so big. So I bowled more googlies to the left-handers. I kept mixing it up."
For Chahal, just like a few other stars in the lineup, this opportunity was a crucial chance to stake his claims ahead of the World T20 in October. The leg-spinner admitted that he practised hard during the off-days and didn’t make too many changes to his bowling.
"I didn't want to make too many changes. I thought about which lines I should focus on, whether to go wider or go stump to stump. I sat with (Bharat) Arun sir, there is Paras (Mhambrey) sir here and Rahul (Dravid) sir, so I sat with them, saw videos to see what am I missing? I have been doing well, but it was not happening in a couple of matches,” he added.
Chahal would be hoping to keep things as tight as possible with his bowling, especially given the competition for places in the national team. He added that having competition is often a boost for the national team, which gives extra quality to the bowling unit.
"Definitely when your bench strength is so good that you have a pool of 30 players overall, it is a boost, and you get quality there. All spinners are doing well. You know that for your spot, there are already two people ready, who have already performed in the IPL, here,” he added.
However, the 31-year-old insisted that in spite of the competition, one could only stay in the team because of performances, which he strives to do during his time at the pitch.
“My focus when I play is that I should perform whenever I play. If you perform (well), then you get to play. You can stay in the team only with performance. When I bowl, I keep my mind clear, I don't think of 'this guy has done this, that guy has done that'. My mind is on the fact that I have the ball, and what I need to do now."