India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was not picked in the T20 World Cup squad due to underwhelming performances, but he continues to back himself to bounce back. He says that his focus remains on reading the batsman's mind and continue to back the variations he has at his disposal.
"If you look at all the IPLs, I have always been one of the top spinners. It’s more of a mind game rather than reading," Chahal told TOI.
"I am not a mystery spinner like Ajantha Mendis. Rashid Khan is in a different league. I believe he is a cut above the rest like we used to talk about Muralidharan sir or Shane Warne sir. My calling card is mindgame. I don’t try fancy variations. I back whatever variations I have," he added.
Chahal admits he was down for a few days after his name was not in the T20 World Cup squad, but kept himself motivated throughout. "I was not dropped in four years and then I got dropped for such a marquee event. I felt really bad. I was down for two-three days. But then I knew the second leg of the IPL was still around the corner," the leg-spinner said.
"I went back to my coaches and spoke to them a lot. My wife and family were constantly encouraging me. My fans kept putting out motivational posts. That buoyed me. I decided to back my strengths and overcome my confusion. I couldn’t have sulked for long because that would have impacted my IPL form," Chahal explained.
Chahal and newly-appointed T20I captain Rohit Sharma share a special bond. Chahal says it goes beyond cricket. "I have always had a special bond with Rohit. We are like family. Be it him or Ritika Bhabhi, they have always treated me like a younger brother," Chahal said.
"We always went out together for dinner. Whenever we are on the field, I always share my views with him like the time we got Kuldeep to bowl from a certain end to Babar Azam in the 2019 World Cup and got him out.
Our relationship is beyond our cricket. That helps on the field too when you trust someone so much. It’s always good to know that if I share something with him, there will be a positive response and vibe," Chahal, who has 63 T20I wickets from 49 matches added.
Chahal has been named in the T20I series against New Zealand at home, which starts in Jaipur on Wednesday (November 17).