Yuzvendra Chahal has been one of the most prolific bowlers for Team India and in the Indian Premier League. The spinner recently became the highest wicket-taker in IPL & has some fantastic numbers for Team India as well in the white-ball format.
While he is a shrewd spinner, Chahal at the same time is very candid and that’s pretty evident in his social media posts. In an exclusive chat with News18 CricketNext, the right-arm bowler talked about IPL, MS Dhoni winning another IPL trophy & his equation with Jos Buttler.
How does it feel to become the highest wicket-taker in IPL?
Personally, I was really happy. I became the highest wicket-taker in the IPL, that was like a dream come true. When you play a tournament, you want to sit at the helm. I enjoyed myself a lot but was disappointed that it didn’t really go well for the team. But that happens and is part and parcel of the game. Last year, we were in the finals, this time we missed out on qualifying for the playoffs, so that happens and that’s how the game works. Overall, we are a very good team and the mistakes that we committed in this edition, we will try to rectify in future.
Rajasthan Royals started off the season well but lost the way later on. What went wrong in the later stage of the tournament?
Look, as I said this happens. We play 14 matches and that can happen. It’s not just with us, there are other teams as well who have gone through the same thing. They had performed in the first half but the performance dipped in the second. I won’t give much excuses but it’s just that we didn’t play well.
The no-ball that Sandeep Sharma bowled against SRH certainly changed the equation. Did you have any conversation with him afterwards?
Obviously, you feel bad when that kind of thing happens. Personally, I feel one should get his space. I didn’t have a chat with him on that particular but did have an interaction the next day. This can happen with any of the bowlers which is fine. It’s just that those things should be taken as a learning.
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How impressive has Yashasvi Jaiswal been and what is that thing that sets him apart?
“Uske Chakkar Mein mujhe batting nahi mili nets mein (I didn’t get to bat in the nets because of him) (laughs)”. He is a brilliant talent. I knew him before as well but closely watched him in the Rajasthan Royals squad. He has got a lot of potential and is a working hard-working guy. The best thing is that the youngster has a lot of hunger to score runs and learn as much as he can. I think him, Rinku Singh, Dhruv Jurel, Tilak Varma, they are very good and I’m so happy for them and it’s great to see the kind of hard work they put in at this level. They are doing so well. At 21, they have so much confidence which is great to see.
They are up against legendary bowlers and score runs against them is just terrific.
You have played under the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma & Sanju Samson. What is that one positive thing about their captaincy that you think is the best?
They all are same to be honest. All of them give me a lot of freedom and let me bowl in the manner I want to. If my plans don’t work, then the second plan comes into play. When the captain shows that much trust in you, you don’t think about the other stuff.
Tell us about the kind of friendship and bond that you share with Jos Buttler.
With Jos, I have a different bond. It’s not something that is just till the IPL. We do interact otherwise as well. We go for dinners whenever we go to the UK. We talk on video calls. He is like a brother to me and when you make a bond like that with someone, it’s for whole life.
Your take on the new Impact Player Rule?
As a bowler, it is very hard for us (laughs). Earlier, we had to dismiss 6-7 batters, this time around, we have a task of dismissing 8-9 batters. But we are getting used to it. Obviously, when something new is introduced, you have to make certain adjustments and take time in getting used to it. It’s an interesting concept for sure.
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The kind of bond you share with MS Dhoni, how excited were you to see him lift another trophy?
Definitely, it was an emotional moment. Not only me, but whole India wanted him to win. And it’s a good thing and I’m really happy to see that. He is a legend and the way he is, if CSK would have defeated us in the final, I would have been equally happy for him.
Ravindra Jadeja kept himself calm in the pressure situation in the IPL 2023 final and eventually took his team over the line. How impressive was that?
He is the number one all-rounder in the world. The way he has made his comeback is brilliant. He was injured and then he came back. It’s just tremendous. He is the greatest fielder. He bats at 7, bowls as well. He is a complete all-rounder.
Do you think India will miss someone like Rishabh Pant in WTC Final, considering the kind of knocks he has played in the red-ball format for India?
Rishabh is an attacking batter and of course, everyone is missing him. But you can’t really do much about it and back the players who have travelled there. We have to back KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan. They have played a lot of cricket and are experienced enough. Ishan is somewhat similar to Pant. It’s also an opportunity for them to prove themselves in the longer format.
How do you see the Campus/University Cricket, Red Bull Campus Cricket as a platform for young & budding cricketers?
I think it’s a very good platform for youngsters to explore their talent and everything. When I started playing, there weren’t much of these kind of tournaments. There was a gradual process there like I first played at district level and then Haryana and so on. But when you have these kind of tournaments, it’s a different exposure for the players altogether and a lot of credit goes to Red Bull and Rajasthan Royals.
Moreover, they are also organizing tournaments for women cricketers which is a great thing. It gives you a big platform to showcase your talent.
I have come here for the first time and I’m really enjoying myself seeing the kind of efforts the players are putting in the field.
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The youngsters get to interact with senior & experienced players through this platform. How important is this exposure for them?
Definitely, it’s a very good thing. When I was young and interacted with senior players, I got to learn a lot from them about what to do and what not to do. The kind of advice you get can certainly change your life. I think it’s good when you have a conversation with experienced players.
Obviously, when you play these kinds of tournaments, you have an idea that people are watching you, the IPL franchises are keeping a close eye on you. IPL is a platform which provides you with the opportunity of playing at a higher level and spending time with senior-level cricketers. There are groups of 20-25 players, and senior coaches, so all that adds up to your learning.
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