Cricket - Featured - April 27, 2020

Yuzvendra Chahal – From Chess to Cricket

Yuzvendra Chahal is a prominent name when it comes to Indian cricket. From being a chess player, to one of the finest leg-spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal has indeed come a long way. Chahal has internationally represented India in chess at youth levels (he still has a FIDE rating of 1956).

Yuzvendra Chahal made his first-class debut at the age of 19 against Madhya Pradesh. Surprisingly, he has not played many first-class games. However, he has been pretty impressive at the international level.

Cricket is my life, whatever I’m today, it’s because of the game, the name and fame I have earned, I feel I will miss everything once I’m done with my playing days,” Yuzvendra Chahal said, on the latest episode of Spicy Pitch.

The leggie from Haryana realised he could make it big when he became the leading wicket-taker in one season of the Cooch Behar Trophy. “I was a medium-pacer during my school days, but my father insisted that I change to leg-spin (because of my lean frame),” Chahal said. “I then went on to become the highest wicket-taker in one season of the Cooch Behar Trophy (the premier Under-19 tournament in India). That’s when I realized I had the talent and potential to become better. The age-group matches were followed by performances in the Ranji Trophy for Haryana, the 50-over matches, T20s and then I was selected for the Indian team“, he added.

IPL and international career

Yuzvendra Chahal - From Chess to Cricket

Yuzvendra Chahal earned his first IPL contract with the Mumbai Indians in 2011. However, he did not get many opportunities with the Mumbai franchise. In the 2014 auctions, he was picked by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Chahal’s association with RCB was the biggest turning point of his career. He became an integral part of the RCB spin attack. With Virat Kohli being the captain, consistent performances opened the way for Chahal into the Indian team.

His maiden international opportunity came on the tour to Zimbabwe in mid-2016. Yuzi did not fail to impress, grabbing the opportunity with both hands. Further in 2016-17, when England came to India, Chahal grabbed figures of 6 for 25 in a T20I. These are the second best figures in a T20I. What made it even special was that it came at the Chinnaswamy stadium, his second home.

Over the years, Yuzvendra Chahal has become RCB’s lead spinner. With 100 IPL wickets, he became the leading wicket-taker for the franchise as well. Chahal has played 52 ODI’s and 42 T20I’s for India so far. He picked up 91 and 55 wickets respectively.

Chess has helped Chahal become a better cricketer

His talent and his ability to think makes him stand out from the rest,” said Randhir Singh, his personal coach . “His chess background has been of big help, he has represented India at the junior levels, this obviously has made him mentally sharp, his tactics has helped him dismiss batsmen. he might be physically lean, but he has a big heart as a bowler, he isn’t worried about the batsmen coming to attack him“, he further added.

 

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