Yuzvendra Chahal: From a Chess Champion to a Champion Cricketer

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One of the Indian team's finds after the retirement of the maverick bowler Anil Kumble, Yuzvendra Chahal, has made a name for himself as a dynamic leg-break bowler. Born in Jind, Haryana to advocate father KK Chahal and housewife mother Sunita Devi, Chahal was surprisingly a chess champion when he was a child and represented India in the 2003 Chess World Cup. He had to give up Chess, though because Chess requires sponsorships and he couldn’t acquire any. After his chess career went kaput is when he turned his attention to Cricket and became the only player to represent India both in Chess and Cricket. Yuzvendra Chahal’s father has been very supportive of his passion for sports and encouraged him to take up cricket professionally. He has two elder sisters, both married, settled in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, like many other budding leg spinners, Yuzi Chahal looked up to Shane Warne as his cricketing idol. He made his debut at the age of 19 for Haryana against Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji trophy in 2009-10. Like many ‘IPL generation cricketers’, Yuzvendra also started playing in the IPL before playing a lot of domestic matches.

He was picked up by the Mumbai Indians in 2011 but didn’t get many chances to play for a couple of years, which meant that he had to wait for his time in the limelight. Yuzvendra Chahal’s height is the ideal height for a leg spinner because spinners generally deliver the bowl from eye level and being of average size, he manages to bowl exactly where spinners desire to bowl to most kinds of batsmen. His time finally came in 2014 when Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him at the auction. RCB needed an excellent leg spinner and they got one in the form of Chahal. He performed decently well, picking up 12 wickets in the tournament. He performed better in 2015 and 2016 editions, picking up 23 and 21 wickets respectively. Chahal’s RCB stint under India test captain Kohli in the IPL proved advantageous as it earned him a call for the national side in 2016.

Yuzvendra Chahal’s chess knowledge most probably makes him a tough bowler to face because he brings all his experience of anticipating the opposition’s moves to the fore. He is famous for being a skiddy customer who keeps it tight but isn’t afraid to toss the ball up in order to lure batsmen into making mistakes. He likes challenging batsmen and can get pretty creative with his bowling and has an assortment of deliveries in his arsenal to keep the batsman guessing. Spinners tend to burn out much later than fast bowlers or medium pacers. Therefore Yuzvendra Chahal’s age is perfect at the moment to enable him to play two more ODI World Cups at least.

Yuzi Chahal’s International Cricket Stats

He made his international debut at the age of 25 against Zimbabwe in 2016. He took India to victory in the second match of the series by taking 3 wickets and giving away 26 runs in 6 overs. Chahal cleaned out Zimbabwe’s middle order by sending Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, and Elton Chigumbura back to the pavilion. He made his T20 International debut on the same tour and troubled the Zimbabweans no end. Thus, started a career that has seen many ups and downs but has sealed his reputation as a dependable leg spinner in the shorter formats of the game.

The money came to him, obviously, as he continued to scale heights in his cricketing career. Today, Yuzvendra Chahal’s net worth is estimated to be around $4.5 million. He did not let money get to his head to his credit and instead bettered his performances. He broke records against England in 2017, when he took an incredible 6 wickets for 25 runs, in the process becoming the first Indian bowler to bag 5 wickets or more in a T20 International match. His 6/25 is the best bowling figures by a leg spinner in T20 Internationals’ history. He also became the first leg spinner to bag a six as well as five-wicket haul in T20s. He equaled Ajit Agarkar’s record of the best bowling figures against Australia when he demolished the might Australian batting line-up and returned with figures of 6/42. His exceptional bowling effort helped India win comfortably. He was subsequently selected for the 2019 World Cup squad. He had a decent outing, picking up 12 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 36.83.

Yuzvendra Chahal’s IPL outings have proved to be successful more often than not. He has become a regular in RCB due to some great performances ensuring victory for his side. Spinners are generally at the receiving end of the batsmen’s thrashing more than pacers because of the sheer nature of the T20 format, but these slow bowlers can prove to be comparatively more lethal as well. One miss-hit can be curtains for the batsman’s innings.

Here We Look at One of Chahal’s Best IPL Outings.

Kolkata, who were put in to bat first by RCB, were blown away by Chahal's leg-spin. He took 3 wickets, conceding only 16 runs in his quota of four overs, and was the most economical bowler among RCB bowlers. He snagged big-hitters like Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, and Colin De Grandhomme to restrict KKR to a paltry score of 131. RCB ended up losing rather embarrassingly, but Chahal delivered what was expected of him.

Chahal the Best Entertainer

Chahal has become an internet star of sorts lately, regularly creating fun videos for his fans on social media platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube. He even collaborates with his teammates form the Indian cricket team, such as Rohit Sharma. Yuzi has amassed an enormous fan following on these sites and intends to regularly upload videos to engage more with his fans. He recently got engaged to be married to Instagrammer and dancer Dhanashree Verma in an intimate ceremony. His personal life aside, if he keeps playing good cricket, he would surely be a player to watch out for in the future.

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