Mastering the art of leg break is perhaps one of the most challenging things in cricket but what makes a leg break bowler more lethal is the confidence shown to him by his captain. They are most likely to bowl a boundary ball every over but have high chances of getting wickets at crucial junctures of the game. They are real match winners and backing from the captain does a world of good for them.
Indian leggie Yuzvendra Chahal who in brief time has elevated to being the most reliable limited overs bowler and he has attributed his recent success to skipper Virat Kohli who has shown faith in his abilities and has asked him to go for wickets rather than containing the batsmen.
“Virat bhai has always told me that even if I concede runs, if I get him a couple of wickets in the middle overs, he won’t mind. In T20s, he told me if I go for 35 runs in 4 overs but pick two or three wickets, he will be happy,” Chahal was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
“However, in the last T20 at Trivandrum, in my second over, the plan was (to restrict) not to go for wickets because if I attacked, I would have had to flight the ball and either I would have got a wicket or got hit for a six,” Chahal further added.
He can read the batsmen’s mind, and it was evident from battle he had with Colin Munro. The leggie bamboozled the southpaw with a big leg break during the Kanpur game.
“Against Munro at Kanpur, I bowled a slower ball, he got beaten and there was an appeal for stumping. I got a clue he liked to stand and deliver, and doesn’t believe in leaning into his shot,” Chahal said.
“I thought I could bowl a little up and if I am getting turn that will be my plus point. I wanted him to go over cover as it was inside the circle. The flight was good, it dipped and he played without leaning into the shot. The risk involved was very high.”
Chahal has relied on bowling the middle stump and off stump line which has both paid a rich dividend and given him wickets. He has dismissed batsmen with flighted deliveries outside the off stump while he has also shown his lethal middle stump deliveries.
“Our coaching staff has really helped (in attacking middle-stump). On the field, Mahi bhai (Dhoni) reads the situation very well, so he tells how to plan. The ball outside off-stump is a variation but my strength is to keep hitting the spot. At the same time if I am bowling slowly and the ball isn’t turning, the batsman is caught in two minds, (not sure) it will turn or not,” Chahal said.
Chahal has been the preferred spinner for Kohli because of his ability to bowl well even when the balls get wet because of dew. He stated that it was his mental toughness which helps him come good and overcome dew every time.
“Dew will be there at this time of the year, but I simply don’t think about it. If you do, your focus wavers from bowling. There is no point putting unnecessary pressure on you.
“You have to be mentally strong and back yourself saying ‘I will bowl well no matter what’. Once you do that the thought of tackling dew goes away completely. Then you can focus on how to plan a batsman’s dismissal.”
However, Chahal praised Axar Patel for his abilities to contain the batsmen. Chahal said that Axar not giving away too many runs allows him and Kuldeep to go for the kill with attacking deliveries.
“Axar, although he is not a great turner of the ball, contains runs. Then I and Kuldeep can take our chances.”