Yuzvendra Chahal is one of the smartest leg-spinners in modern-day cricket and operates at the highest level in high-pressure games whether it's the IPL or international cricket. Royal Challengers Bangalore did not retain the leg-spinner which could be their biggest mistake looking at Chahal's form.
Yuzvendra Chahal has time and again proved why he is an asset in the white-ball format of the game. The leg-spinner has more often than not delivered at the biggest stages and has the ability as well as temperament that is required in high-pressure games. Whether it is international cricket or the Indian Premier League, the leg-spinner has always done well for his side and delivers when it matters the most. He is every captain's go-to spinner when they need a breakthrough.
The leg-spinner from Haryana was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the 2014 IPL player auction for his base price of INR 10 lakh. Since then, Yuzvendra Chahal was an integral part of the RCB squad and featured in their playing XI regularly. The RCB team's home ground is the M. Chinnaswamy stadium which is every bowler's nightmare as batters hit sixes with ease as it's relatively smaller than the other grounds. But, Yuzvendra Chahal is one such rare bowler who found success even in the Chinnaswamy which speaks volumes about the kind of mindset he has.
Chahal's ability to out-smart some of the best batters in world cricket is proof of how good the leg-spinner is. Let's have a look at his stats when he has played at the M.Chinnaswamy stadium. Since 2014, Yuzvendra Chahal has played 40 matches in the IPL at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The 31-year-old spinner has picked 51 wickets in the games that he has played with an economy rate of 7.74 and a strike rate of 16.6 which is incredible. Spinners have more often than not found it difficult on a small ground like the M.Chinnaswamy and yet Chahal has done well. A statistic that solidifies Yuzvendra Chahal's mettle is the dot ball percentage. He has a dot ball percentage of 41.4 which is quite unbelievable for a leg-spinner.
With all these statistics proving what a genius Yuzvendra Chahal is, the question is why would any franchise let someone go who has done so well. The Royal Challengers Bangalore had one of the best bowlers in the IPL with them and yet they chose not to retain him before the mega-auction that took place in February 2022.
In the 118 matches that Yuzvendra Chahal has played in his IPL career so far, the spinner has managed to take 150 wickets with an economy rate of 7.55 and a strike rate of 16.96. This record in itself is outstanding and to add to that is the fact that he is the second-fastest in the history of the IPL to get to 150 wickets.
So, Royal Challengers Bangalore letting a spinner of Yuzvendra Chahal's caliber go is quite astonishing, to say the least. Many fans and cricket experts/former cricketers were also confused when RCB decided not to retain him. However, many thought that the franchise will get him back in the mega-auction and will go all out for him. But, even that did not happen and the Rajasthan Royals scooped him up for INR 6.5 crore which is now proving to be a rather sweet deal for the franchise.
Rajasthan Royals have been one of the most dominant forces in this year's IPL so far and it looks like they are on a mission. The team led by Sanju Samson has done well with both bat and ball and is currently at the top of the points table. In the four matches that Yuzvendra Chahal has played so far, the leg-spinner has managed to pick 11 wickets and is also the leading wicket-taker in this year's IPL. After his performance in the game against Lucknow Super Giants, he also received the purple cap which signifies the highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
The 31-year-old leg spinner is a master at reading situations and is courageous enough to toss up the ball to power hitters like MS Dhoni. The ability to bowl fearlessly in the shortest format of the game makes him stand out and is also what makes him a wicket-taking bowler.
So, Royal Challengers Bangalore letting go of Yuzvendra Chahal makes very little sense to me. Yes, many will say that they have Wanindu Hasaranga in the side who too is a good mystery spinner and can contribute with the bat as well which is a fair point. But, the experience that Chahal has when a batter is going after the bowlers is what makes him unique.
He knows where to bowl and how to get rid of a batter who is going after the bowlers. It feels like RCB's loss is Rajasthan Royals' gain as Yuzvendra Chahal is continuing on his good form and could possibly be the highest wicket-taker in the fifteenth edition of the Indian Premier League.
The RCB management may or may not admit it but with the kind of performance that Yuzvendra Chahal is giving, it is quite clear that RCB did make a mistake by not retaining Yuzvendra Chahal for IPL 2022.