Former India batter Wasim Jaffer is concerned about the form of India’s leading spinner Yuzvendra Chahal ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The 32-year-old had expensive outings in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2022 in UAE, followed by the 4-wicket defeat in the first Twenty20 International against Australia.
India’s early exit at the continental event, and the bowling line-up’s inability to defend a 200-plus target against Australia in the first T20I in Mohali was indicative of some of the existing weaknesses in the team. Although Jasprit Bumrah had been out of action in these games due to an injury, senior bowlers like Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar went for over 12.60 runs in the game and it compounded into more serious trouble for India.
With 42 runs conceded in just 3.2 overs, including the late wicket of Tim David in the match’s final over, Chahal’s effort was far from satisfactory.
As a result, Jaffer added to the debate around India’s selection for the World Cup in Australia saying he would have preferred to go in with someone like leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi or even Kuldeep Yadav instead of Chahal.
“I have seen that when the conditions are against him, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of variety,” Jaffer said to ESPNCricinfo. “I will be concerned going into that World Cup with Yuzvendra Chahal as my main spinner. I will be looking at Ravi Bishnoi, he gives you something different.”
While Bishnoi appeared to be in the Indian management’s scheme of things in T20 cricket not too long ago, he only played the solitary game against Pakistan in the Asia Cup where he picked up bowling figures of 1/26. In the three-match series against the West Indies, Bishnoi picked up eight wickets at an average of 8.62 including a four-for in the third T20I. However, he was left out of the 15-member squad for the World Cup, making it only to the standbys list.
Talking about the spin options, Jaffer said, “Even that one game that he played against Pakistan, I thought he bowled some difficult overs. There is (Ravichandran) Ashwin of course, we know what to expect from him and Chahal. But I will be keen to have a look at Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav. If Chahal is bowling like that, I will be worried.”
Kumar was the most expensive bowler on the day with 52 runs conceded in his 4 overs at an economy rate of 13 runs per over. The pace department too has struggled to put up a strong bowling show.
“I’ll be very concerned. Bhuvi hasn’t been at his best. We know he is very good at the start of the innings but the way he has bowled in the death is a huge concern. You can sympathise with Harshal Patel, he is just coming out of an injury. It shows how dependent India are on Bumrah to bowl well up front and then again in the death,” he added.