Imran Tahir hailed Yuzvendra Chahal as a "wonderful bowler", and wished he could see the India leg-spinner play at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. The seasoned South Africa campaigner further spoke of the value leg-spinner adds to any team, especially in the game’s shortest version.
Yuzvendra Chahal, currently India’s highest wicket-taker in T20I cricket with 63 scalps at 25.30, was arguably the most surprising omission from their T20 World Cup 2021 squad. That the leg-spinner bagged 14 wickets from eight outings in IPL 2021 second half, made the non-selection even more surprising.
India went in with Rahul Chahar as the lone leg-spinner in the team, who had excelled during the Sri Lanka tour in July, but experienced a slump in form thereafter. Virat Kohli had justified the selection, which he put down to Chahar’s pace being well-suited to the UAE pitches.
Imran Tahir however, wished to see Chahal plying his trade in the ongoing competition.
"He is a wonderful bowler. I personally wanted to see him playing in the T20 World Cup. But unfortunately, he didn't get picked," Tahir said in a virtual media interaction arranged by Abu Dhabi T10 League.
Tahir, who himself has been a much sought after player across various global T20 leagues while being one of South Africa’s premier match-winners, spoke of the impact leg-spinners create in the game’s shortest version.
"All the leg-spinners have got different variations,” explained Tahir, the third highest wicket-taker in all T20 cricket with 420 scalps. “It's not just about googly and leg-break. Top-spinner, flipper, slider (are there). Leg spinners are playing a big role. Batsmen now can't play like they used to play 10 years ago. Credit goes to all the spinners and the field planning."
"As a leg-spinner playing in the past for South Africa and in league cricket, I believe a leg-spinner can quickly change the game by taking 2-3 quick wickets. I've witnessed that in one of the games when the team were 96 chasing 160. Our spinners, including myself, took a few wickets and we won the game,"
India’s back-to-back defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand in the Super 12s stage have handed a major blow to their semi-final hopes. IPL fatigue has been one of the major criticisms for the team’s lacklustre show, but Tahir refused to believe that way.
"It's completely wrong. You can't blame a player like that,” said the 42-year-old. “All the players have played leagues around the world and are now representing their respective countries. Cricket is about performing on the day. If you don't perform you lose. It's not like that you played in the IPL or not. It's easy to criticise. Maybe they will win the three remaining matches and the mindset will change."