T20 World Cup 2021: Imran Tahir says it’s unfortunate for Yuzvendra Chahal to miss out in the competition

Yuzvendra Chahal | GETTY

India’s leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal couldn’t find a spot in the T20 World Cup 2021 squad. India tried out rising talents like Varun Chakaravarthy and Rahul Chahar for the mega ICC tournament, but there was no spot for Chahal despite his experience.

Veteran South Africa spinner Imran Tahir, who was also ignored for the tournament by Cricket South Africa, is surprised by the omission of Chahal from the ongoing T20 World Cup. He said the leggies can change a match with their variations within no time.

“He is a wonderful bowler. I personally wanted to see him playing in the T20 World Cup. But unfortunately, he didn’t get picked,” Tahir said in a virtual media interaction arranged by Abu Dhabi T10 League.

“All the leg-spinners have got different variations. It’s not just about googly and leg break. Top-spinner, flipper, slider (are there). Leg spinners are playing a big role. Batsmen now can’t play like they used to play 10 years ago. Credit goes to all the spinners and the field planning,” he added.

India have lost both their T20 World Cup matches so far, against Pakistan and New Zealand. The voices in support of Chahal only got stronger with the recent outcomes of Team India.

Tahir understands that a leg-spinner is capable of triggering a collapse and turning the game any minute. “As a leg-spinner playing in the past for South Africa and in the league cricket, I believe a leg-spinner can quickly change the game by taking 2-3 quick wickets.

“I’ve witnessed that in one of the games when the team were 96 chasing 160. Our spinners, including myself, took a few wickets and we won the game,” he said.

Tahir cited the example of Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan, South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi, and England spinner Adil Rashid who have done a good job for their teams on the slow UAE pitches. “Leg-spinners are very important and it’s lovely to see that Shamsi, Adil Rashid, Rashid Khan are doing magic in the T20 World Cup. They are making proud for their respective countries.

“These are the three names that come to my mind in white-ball cricket,” he said before adding Chahal to the list.

India have struggled to pick wickets in the tournament and have only got only two wickets in the tournament, which came in the second match against New Zealand by Jasprit Bumrah.

Tahir also spoke on IPL being blamed for Team India’s poor performance as fatigue could be a big factor. The Proteas spinner doesn’t agree that the cash-rich league affected India’s performance.

“It’s completely wrong. You can’t blame a player like that. All the players have played leagues around the world and are now representing their respective countries.

“Cricket is about performing on the day. If you don’t perform you lose. It’s not like that you played in the IPL or not. It’s easy to criticize. Maybe they will win the three remaining matches and the mindset will change,” he said.

The 42-year-old picked South Africa and Pakistan as the finalists for the T20 World Cup. “South Africa’s bowling attack is very good, it seems nothing can stop Pakistan now. I can see them playing the final,” he said.