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Kuldeep is bowling well and that is why team is backing him: Chahal

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal understands why Kuldeep Yadav is playing ahead of him in the ODI format and is not losing sleep over his place in the Asia Cup and World Cup squad.

Chahal did not make the playing eleven in the three ODIs against West Indies. Featuring in his first game since the IPL (Indian Premier League), Chahal made his presence felt with a twin strike in his opening over but India lost the game by four runs.

“Team combination is our priority and it is not something new. At 7 we generally play Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel. Three spinners can only play if the wickets are spin-friendly,” said Chahal ahead of the second T20.

“Kuldeep is bowling really well, he is in a great rhythm and that’s why team is backing him. I keep working on nets so that whenever I get the chance I will grab it,” the leg-spinner added.

The focus is on ODIs ahead of the World Cup at home in October-November but Chahal has not been able to get a game since January.

However, the 33-year-old is happy as long he gets to be part of the squad.

“We are professional cricketers. I was playing after two months, last I played was in the IPL. It is all about the preparation. This is not an individual sport, you are playing here for your team. There are times when players have to sit out for two series, so it doesn’t mean that they are not part of the team,” said the former state-level chess player.

Chahal said that instead of thinking about missed chances, he considers himself lucky to be wearing the India Blues.

“I am very happy that I am getting to wear the blue jersey everyday. I am not sitting at home. I am travelling with the team. I am part of the team. I have played chess, it is an individual game but cricket is a team sport. Out of 15 people in the squad only 11 can play,” he added.

Nicholas Pooran has been in menacing form of late and loves smashing the spinners in the cow corner region. Chahal enjoys his battles against the West Indian.

“I love my battles against Nicholas Pooran. I have got him out a few times and in some other occasions, he has hit me for sixes. I try not give him freebies or I know he will hit me out of the park.”

Having played under multiple captains since his debut under MS Dhoni in 2016, Chahal feels his equation with whoever is leading the team doesn’t change much.

“It’s like a family where you have four brothers. Mahi bhai was the eldest, then came Virat bhaiya, then Rohit bhaiya and now Hardik. Equations remains the same. At the ground, we all want to win. They (seniors) gave us freedom as a bowler and Hardik also gives that space to the bowlers,” he said.

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