By Avinash Kr Atish
New Delhi, Jun 4 (IANS): Premier India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has revealed that bowling in the death overs for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 boosted his confidence and had a huge impact in improving his performances in the cash-rich league.
While playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium for many years, Chahal mostly used to finish bowling his quota in the middle overs. However, things changed when he joined Rajasthan Royals in 2022.
In the IPL 2022 season, Chahal won the Purple Cap after picking up 27 wickets, out of which seven came at the death. And in IPL 2023, the leg-spinner was used even more in death overs and he finished the recently-concluded season with 21 wickets in 14 matches.
"When I joined Rajasthan Royals last year, Sanju Samson (skipper) told me that I have to bowl at least one over in death overs. And this year, I bowled even two at the death, which boosted my confidence and I feel my performance has also improved by 20-25 per cent because of that," Chahal told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of Red Bull Campus Cricket India Finals in Dehradun.
The 32-year-old spinner, who became the leading wicket-taker in the history of IPL during the 2023 season, doesn't believe in trying too many new things and instead focuses on using his variations well.
"I didn't try anything new during this IPL 2023 season. Having four-five variations is enough for me and I focus only on how to use that properly," he said.
Though Chahal had a good season with the ball, his team Rajasthan Royals, who were runners-up last season, failed to qualify for the Playoffs as they finished fifth with 14 points.
"It's (winning and losing) part of the process, you can not pinpoint a single player or a particular thing, where it went wrong for us. As a team, we win together and we lose together as well. Over the years, teams have lost the plot in the mid-season; ups and downs are part and parcel of a long tournament like the IPL. We hope to not repeat the same mistakes next year," the leg-spinner said.
While playing for the Indian team or Rajasthan Royals, Chahal has good quality spinners around him, which often leads to competition. However, as per Chahal, he always looks to learn from his teammates and feels bowling in partnership is crucial.
"Whether it's the seniors or juniors, you always try to learn from everyone. For me, bowling in partnership is very important: sometimes you have to contain runs from one end, sometimes others do it from the other end and you get wickets. The same goes for batting as well," he said.
Despite being India's premier leg-spinner, Chahai has been very unfortunate and is yet to play a T20 World Cup match.
The right-hand leg-spinner was not picked in India's squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup and in the 2023 edition of the same tournament in Australia, he was part of the squad but didn't get the chance to play a single match under the management of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid.
"As a professional cricketer, I want my team to win whether I am part of the team or not. Cricket is a team game and playing XI is picked based on the best possible combinations. And, I was happy being part of the World Cup squad," said Chahal on his World Cup snub.
After making his India debut in 2016, Chahal has only played in white-ball formats. However, the spinner is still hopeful of playing Test cricket someday.
"Definitely, I have that desire to play Test cricket. When I started my U-14 cricket, it was from red ball only. It's a different feeling when someone calls you a Test player," concluded Chahal.