Yuzvendra Chahal – The Leg-spinner


Yuzvendra Chahal, the Virat Kohl’s go to man in the short formats of the game, is an attacking leg-spinner who first attracted attention when he took 34 wickets in the National Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy in 2009, ending the tournament as its leading wicket-taker. Born on July 23rd, 1990 in Haryana, Chahal is the only person to represent India in both chess and cricket. A former chess player who represented India at junior levels, Chahal made his first-class debut for Haryana the same year and was signed by Mumbai Indians in 2011 to be part of their IPL squad.

He didn’t play a game that season but was still named in Mumbai’s Champions League T20 squad the same year. It was in the Champions League that he got an extended run in the side – he featured in the playing XI in all the matches and starred in Mumbai’s win in the final with a spell of 3-0-9-2. However, in the next two years with Mumbai, he managed only one game. His IPL fortunes mirrored those in domestic cricket, where he played in only eight matches in three seasons from 2011-12 onwards and picked up just 16 wickets.

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It was with Royal Challengers Bangalore, though, that he found the bulk of his success. He was their highest wicket-taker for two years running since the 2015 season and by virtue of that earned his first India caps in ODIs and T20Is on a tour of Zimbabwe in June 2016. While that series may have been seen as an opportunity to blood new players into international cricket, Chahal was called up again into the Indian T20 line-up to face England in January 2017 and delivered in style in the deciding game: his 6 for 25 in that match in Bangalore was part of an England collapse of 8 for 8, and the third-best figures till then in T20Is. Chahal is one of only two players in T20 Cricket history to have taken a 6-wicket haul.

He along with  another wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav have now become the integral part of team India in the shorter format of the game i.e. One Day Internationals and T20, so much so that the seasoned campaigners like R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are finding it difficult to make a come back into the Indian team in the shorter format of the game. With his continuous impressive performances, Chahal surely is knocking at the doors for the entry into test matches and he surely would make to Indian Test team sooner or later.