Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter

Aakash Chopra has picked Yuzvendra Chahal’s inability to pick up wickets apart from being expensive as one of the concerns for Team India heading into the third T20I against South Africa. Yuzvendra Chahal has snared just one wicket in the two T20Is against the Proteas thus far. The wily leg-spinner has also conceded 75 runs in the 6.1 overs he has bowled in the ongoing series to date.

Yuzvendra Chahal returned 1/49 in his four overs in the second T20 International against the Proteas at Cuttack, fresh from a highly successful IPL 2022 spell where he won the Purple Cap for taking most wickets (27 scalps averaging 19.52 in 17 games). Notably, stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant had given just 2.1 overs to Yuzvendra Chahal in the series opener. The bowler had conceded 26 runs in 13 deliveries in Delhi.

Yuzvendra Chahal has been found slightly wanting in the two T20Is thus far [P/C: BCCI]
Yuzvendra Chahal has been found slightly wanting in the two T20Is thus far [P/C: BCCI]

Aakash Chopra Admits India’s Biggest Concern Is That Yuzvendra Chahal Has Conceded A Lot Of Runs In The India – South Africa T20I Series

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra reflected on some of the pain points for Team India in the series thus far.

Aakash Chopra said the following about Yuzvendra Chahal: “The biggest concern is that India is not picking up enough wickets in the middle overs. Yuzvendra Chahal is our experienced customer, you look towards him. All of us said that it was massive injustice when he was not selected for the World Cup (T20I, 2021). But the truth is that he has conceded a lot of runs in this series.”

While observing that Bhuvneshwar Kumar has given Team India early breakthroughs, the cricketer-turned-commentator added that the spinners have been a let-down.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “The start is still good, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picks up wickets, but we have picked up just two wickets in the middle overs. It also tells you that our spin has not worked at all. Yuzi Chahal has picked up one wicket, Axar Patel has picked up one wicket, we have not really bowled well. There has been no potency in the middle overs.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Following India’s four-wicket loss on Sunday, stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant admitted that the performance of both Indian spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, wasn’t up to the mark.

Rishabh Pant’s captaincy has become subject to intense criticism in both losses. His lack of utilization of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was frowned upon in the first T20I match. Rishabh Pant didn’t complete Yuzvendra Chahal’s full quota of overs, giving him only two overs until the 19th over of the innings.

The wicketkeeper-batter brought Yuzvendra Chahal for the final over but by then, the game was already in South Africa’s bag with the side needing merely four more runs to win. The leg-spinner conceded 26 off his 2.1 overs in the first T20I against South Africa in Delhi on June 9.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 Purple Cap winner was taken off the attack entirely after the eighth over. Fellow spinner Axar Patel completed his quota of overs and recorded figures of 1-40 in his spell.

In the 2nd T20I, he was criticized for relying upon Yuzvendra Chahal and the second spinner, Axar Patel, too much when the situation demanded a fast-bowling-led strategy. In the 2nd T20I, Yuzvendra Chahal was too expensive (1/49 in 4 overs) while Axar Patel gave 19 runs in only 1 over.

Aakash Chopra was also slightly critical of Team India’s fielding, explaining: “Catches win matches right. You will be surprised to hear that we are dropping one out of every four catches. So when you drop catches, you cannot win the match, that is for sure.”

Shreyas Iyer put down an easy offering from Rassie van der Dussen in the first game, which proved very costly in the end. Substitute Ravi Bishnoi dropped a tough catch of Heinrich Klaasen in the second match but the game was almost sealed in the visitors’ favor by then.

Aakash Chopra Picked Shreyas Iyer’s Struggles Against Pacers As Another Concern

Aakash Chopra picked Shreyas Iyer’s struggles against the Proteas pacers as another concern for Team India.

He explained: “Shreyas (Iyer) is struggling a little against pace, that’s another issue that is required to be addressed. It’s the elephant in the room that the guy is scoring runs, so don’t talk about him but the truth is that if you have to move forward, you cannot just hit against spin, you will have to do that against pace as well.”

The South African pacers have enjoyed an upper hand against Shreyas Iyer [P/C: BCCI]
The South African pacers have enjoyed an upper hand against Shreyas Iyer [P/C: BCCI]
Shreyas Iyer has amassed 76 runs in the two T20Is thus far. However, most of his attacking shots have come against the spinners and he has been kept on a tight leash by the South African quicks.

In the 2nd T20I, Shreyas Iyer faced 35 deliveries – most among all the Indian batters on the night – but could only muster 40 runs, striking at 114.29. He had scored 36 off 27 balls in the 1st T20I.