India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal said he struggled to hold back his tears when former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was dismissed against New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals at Old Trafford.
Chasing 240, Chahal walked into bat after Dhoni fell in the 49th over against the Black Caps in the rain-affected semi-final, which India lost by 18 runs. Dhoni stitched a 116-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja to get India close after they were tottering at 92/6 at one stage. But Dhoni’s dismissal, run out on 50, crushed India’s hopes of reaching the final.
“It was my first World Cup and when Mahi bhai [MS Dhoni] got out and I was going in [to bat], I was trying to hold back my tears. It was so depressing.
“We played so well for nine games but suddenly, we were going out of the tournament. Rain wasn’t in our hands and so it won’t be right to say anything [about the interruption]. It was the first time that we really wanted to go back to the hotel as soon as possible from the ground.”
India had earlier topped the league stage with seven wins from nine games. Since the 50-over World Cup, Chahal has played only one ODI and has also been ignored from India’s T20 scheme of things ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup.
Asked about his omission, Chahal insisted that he was not thinking about selection: “Your job is to perform,” he said. “When we [Kuldeep Yadav and me] came we performed really well. After IPL, our bench strength has become pretty strong too. Now if the team management is trying good talent, it is good that you know that there is competition and you have to work harder. You can’t stay away from cricket.”
Chahal said he wants to carry on playing for the years to come. “I want to continue for 5-6 years,” he said. “I want to win at least one World Cup. I think the way we have been playing and the way our team is shaping up currently...its a positive sign. We won in New Zealand, Australia and West Indies and if we win the T20 World Cup next year, all the noise will die down,” Chahal said.