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In RCB’s match against MI, during over 1, ball 3, it would have been tough being Yuzvendra Chahal. He had just dropped a dolly off Mitchell Starc’s bowling, at point. It seemed like a costly drop – that of Michael Hussey. An RCB fan, who had just got off his seat expecting a catch, sat back with a thud. Sheer dejection; and the cause: Chahal.
But cricket is not known as a game of levelers for nothing. Three overs later, Hussey was caught at point by Chahal. Within minutes, Chahal’s game had changed and it only got better after the end of the first innings. Mumbai Indians had been restricted to just 115 in their 20 overs. Chahal’s figures read four overs and two wickets while giving away just 17 runs.
In a post match chat with IPLT20.com, the 23-year-old leggie spoke about his stint with the Mumbai Indians that helped him perform for RCB. He also talked about his current captain, who has backed his abilities as a bowler.
Here are excerpts from his interview:
Two wickets, a catch and two wins for RCB. You couldn’t have asked for a better start.
It is a great feeling to bowl well for your team and see your team end up on the winning side. It is good to have back-to-back victories, and to get a win against a strong side like Mumbai Indians is special.
Did you sulk after dropping Michael Hussey in the first over of the match?
I felt extremely disappointed. And it is a sin to drop a player like Michael Hussey. But I was not put under pressure by the side. None of the teammates or our captain, Virat Kohli, said a word after the dropped catch.
Were you even more eager to perform after the dropped catch?
I was charged up after that and wanted to put in double my effort so that I do not commit the same mistake again. Luckily, I got a chance to catch Hussey again, and this time, I made sure I don’t drop it. I was relieved after that.
Previously, you have been a part of Mumbai Indians for three years. How helpful has it been to have Anil Kumble coach you?
Anil Kumble sir worked with me a lot last year when I was with the Mumbai Indians. He worked on my action, line and length and my googlies, which was helpful. He also told me at what pace the googlies need to be bowled for them to be effective.
Did your stint with the Mumbai Indians help you plan better for Rohit Sharma’s wicket?
I have seen the way Rohit Sharma bats, and today, I went with the plan of bowling at the right channels to him. I bowled the googly to him and he played an aerial shot, which helped me take his wicket. Same is the case with Kieron Pollard; I knew I had to mix up my deliveries and bowl with a lot of variations in pace to him, which got me his wicket.
Even your fielding skills were tested. You almost effected a run-out in the fifth over and were accurate with your throws on the field. Is that the Jonty Rhodes effect?
I have had a great experience being a part of the Mumbai Indians squad. I got an opportunity to work on my fielding with Jonty sir, who helped me a lot and brought about improvement. I have learnt a lot from him.
You didn’t get as many games as you wanted with the Mumbai Indians. You must be glad that you are getting more chances with RCB.
I did not get to play much with the Mumbai Indians since there were quality spinners in the side in Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, who were doing well. I was bowling well in the nets and did well in the practice match for RCB, which I feel was the reason to consider me in the playing XI. Plus, Virat has always backed my abilities as a bowler. He is a very calm captain, and even if I go for boundaries or sixes, he only asks me to focus on my bowling.
They say numbers don’t lie. But they don’t always reveal the entire truth as well. If anyone were to look at the scorecard of the Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals game in Abu Dhabi, they’d see 3.3-0-21-1 written against the name of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
However, what those numbers don’t tell you is that in his third over – sixth of the RR innings – Bhuvi almost got Watson to nick one behind with a peach of an out-swinger and foxed Ajinkya Rahane with the one that shaped back in. Both these balls deserved wickets but none fetched him one. In the end, the Royals just managed to scamper home.
In a chat with iplt20.com, Bhuvi relived those crucial misses which could have been game-changing moments. He enthused over bowling with Dale Steyn and spoke of his best T20 spell.
You loved bowling in these conditions!
Oh, yes. These were the perfect conditions for me – there was grass on the wicket and I was getting the ball to swing. I know that when I get conditions like this, I become a different bowler altogether.
You deserved a wicket in your third over, didn’t you?
Yes, I thought I did. I bowled an out-swinger to Watson and the one that came in to Ajinkya. Both were lucky to miss the edge. When you are bowling that well, you do feel like you should have ended up with more wickets. But it was equally satisfying to see Ishant pick up a wicket in the very next over. When you create pressure in the previous over for your partner to strike, it is sometimes as satisfying as picking up a wicket yourself. That’s how you win matches – bowling in pairs.
Does it affect your bowling when you’re a part of such world class unit?
It does not affect my bowling as such but it does affect the kind of bowler I am. You learn more when bowling alongside someone like Dale. There are so many little things I can pick up from him that can help me become a better bowler. That is the biggest positive of being part of such an attack. I bowled with Dale a few times in the nets but talking to him during the match about specific batsmen’s weaknesses and planning was a learning experience.
This happened some time back but tell me, did that spell against West Indies (3-0-3-0) and especially to Gayle have any effect on you as a bowler?
It did. West Indies have a very strong top-order and it is not easy to bowl to them without conceding runs. Although I did not take any wicket, it was the best spell I have ever bowled in T20 cricket. Yes, the ball was swinging but it was only because I was putting it in the right areas. I learned a lesson that day that if I stick to my guns without being distracted, I can be quite a handful to handle.
With Ishant on one side and Mishra on the other, did you feel like you’re bowling for India?
Actually, I did. I saw Ishant, Mishra and Shikhar was the captain. At times, I did get a feeling that I am playing for India. But a look at the jersey and the logo on it got me back in the franchise mode.