Yuzvendra Chahal is returning to a familiar yet long-detached territory on Saturday. For the first time since December 2016, the leg-spinner will be playing first class cricket as India A face South Africa A in Bangalore.
The long absence from red ball cricket, however, hasn’t hurt the 28-year-old. Chahal is now one of India’s limited-overs go-to bowlers along with Kuldeep Yadav. The latter is currently part of the Test squad against England.
“Kuldeep deserves every bit to be in the Test squad. He has performed in the formats he has got a chance. Even on a flat wicket a wrist spinner can be pretty effective. It’s a good sign that a leg-spinner is part of the Test squad in an away series. That is the trend worldwide,” Chahal said in an interview.
The Haryana player, who was part of the limited overs series against England, however, added that success in first-class cricket would require more skill.
“In limited-overs, leg-spinners are often rewarded as batsmen go for big shots. In Tests, they don’t go after a bowler aggressively. A leg-spinner needs more planning in Tests. It is a bowler’s skill that gets him wickets in Tests,” Chahal said.
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Two spinners in XI?
During the ODI series, Chahal played at the Lord’s and Trent Bridge where the second and third Test will be played. Chahal feels that two spinners may feature in the playing XI in the latter Tests. The first Test has seen both India and England going with a lone spinner.
“Players like Virat, who have been on England tour before, said during the ODI series that the conditions this time were quite different. I found the pitches dry and could vary my pace. I think we can see two spinners in the playing XI later on in the series. It will all depend on the weather,” he said.
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“This time the heat was too much. The conditions may continue in the coming days. Also, this is a five-match series. Both India and England can make a comeback even if they lose one. So, different strategies and combinations can be tried.”
After the England Test series, India’s next assignment in the format would be against West Indies at home in October. But Chahal is not looking that far ahead.
“I am not thinking about Test selection yet. After close to two years, I am back to red ball cricket. We have Rahul Dravid as coach. His immense experience in Tests will be valuable. I am concentrating on getting the maximum out of this India A stint and of course there is Asia Cup after that in September,” he said.