Chahal ticks bucket list with 50 ODI wickets
Yuzvendra Chahal fulfilled a long-cherished dream, a dream of every Indian or Pakistani cricketer, to be part of a unique rivalry that is India and Pakistan, and the wrist spinner was pleased to tick that off his bucket list. And what better way to mark the occasion for the 28-year-old with him reaching 50 wickets in ODIs.
Chahal had gone wicketless in seven overs, when the two sides first squared off in the Asia Cup in Dubai, but on Sunday in the Super Four, the lanky spinner snapped up two wickets to reach 50 wickets in his 30th ODI. Chahal, who came to bowl in the powerplay, removed opener Imam-ul-Haq in his first over, having the southpaw leg before, and then castled Asif Ali.
"I've been watching since childhood and as a cricketer, you always have a bucket list where you are part of an India-Pakistan game. But it didn't feel like I was playing against Pakistan and it felt like our own team. The atmosphere is different only on the ground and the presence of fans. But once you step on field, it doesn't feel like you are playing against Pakistan or England. It all depends on how strong you are mentally and how much of pressure you can take," said Chahal.
Chahal wasn't part of the team that lost the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in England last year with Indian going in with finger spinners R Ashwin and and Ravindra Jadeja. Since then, India's mode of operation has been with wrist spinners Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
That Champions Trophy defeat is now a distant past and a minor blip as India have held a stranglehold on their neighbours. Both the games between the two have been lop-sided with India flawless and bringing their 'A' game.
But Chahal felt Pakistan weren't a poor team and said that they have it in them to bounce back.
"It happens sometimes. We played well and it is not like they are not a good team. They lost again but sometimes it is not your day. It is not like it is one-sided and if they win their next match, we will again meet in the final. It is not over yet," felt Chahal.
True, the batting has always been India's strong point but the resurgence of their bowling over the past couple of years has added a bit more bite to the team. And Chahal said as much.
"if you look at our bowling pool, we have 10 to 15 guys. After you have played three matches and you want a rest, the guy who is replacing you is as skillful as you. If you look at what happened in England, it was the bowlers who dominated. So, the medium pacers and spinners who are coming through are given enough confidence by the team management. And that is very important. When a youngster comes in, he is backed, is given the confidence and is given a longer run. Even if he has a bad day, it doesn't matter as it happens and the bowler can think just about his bowling and a batsman his batting and not worry about other factors. And that makes a difference," he explained.