Royal Challengers Bangalore have always found it difficult to find the right balance in their playing XI. RCB have often been criticised for being too dependent on their batting while the bowling department has often been found wanting. But one shining light in their bowling unit has always been spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg-spinner has always been a dependable option for RCB and has often found himself in the running for the Purple Cap.
It is no different this season also as Chahal has been in good form and has taken 5 wickets for RCB in IPL 2020. Bowling at the small and batting-friendly Chinnaswamy Stadium is no easy task for a bowler but Chahal has made his name at the very same ground. But he is finding the bigger grounds of the UAE “heavenly” to bowl in and said he is reaping the rewards of bowling a quicker version of his googly this IPL season.
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Chahal has taken five wickets in three games so far with his triple strike in RCB’s opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad setting up an emphatic win. The wily operator dismissed Vijay Shankar with a perfectly placed googly that turned back in sharply from the fourth stump.
The India spinner had aimed to bowl his wrong ones quicker than usual ahead of the IPL and Adam Zampa’s company in the RCB camp is also helping him on that front.
“We (Zampa and Chahal) are always talking, not only in the nets. I have been observing his bowling style ever since he came into the Australian team. Anyway, I was trying to bowl quicker googlies this IPL along with the slower ones. That gives less chance to the batsman to hit me,” said Chahal in an online media interaction on Thursday.
Chahal said none other than the great AB de Villiers has advised him to use his Googly sparingly. “If you are bowling leg spin from the fourth or fifth stump, from there you can bowl googly and the batsman think the leg spin is coming so he has to read from my hand only. If they are not reading there will be problems for sure,” he said.
“Being able to bowl to Virat bhaiya and Ab sir also helps. They give me feedback about the right line and length. AB sir has told me to bowl googlies depending on the situation.”
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The 30-year-old, who is used to bowling in an unforgiving ground like Chinnaswamy Stadium, said the bigger grounds of Dubai and Abu Dhabi allow spinners to offer more flight, which is his strength anyway.
“It is heavenly playing here. We play half (seven) of our matches at Chinnaswamy but here only three matches in Sharjah (which is also a small ground). With the side boundaries (in Dubai and Abu Dhabi), you can flight a little bit more.
“In small grounds, if the wicket is turning it is hard to put you away. Here the wickets are fine but with bigger boundaries, batsmen really need to middle you to hit that six. Even a short ball can give you a wicket.
“Dew is a big factor. We are learning slowly how to counter that. It is very humid also so we are sweating a lot more (making it tougher to grip the ball).”
Chahal echoed Kohli’s views that the current squad is RCB’s most balanced since the 2016 edition in which it made the final.
“We have a more balanced side this season, especially bowling. It is not just me, everyone is getting a different feeling, the one we had had in 2016. There is positivity coming from everyone.”
Coming back from a long break, is he back bowling to his best? “During lockdown I only practiced for 10 days. Before first match I was worried about my rhythm as I had not bowled for six months. I was nervous but after my first over, the nerves were settled,” he said.
“I was not sure if I would be able to bowl my variations but the first game performance gave me a lot of confidence.”
(with PTI inputs)