India legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal isn’t fazed by the 0-3 ODI series defeat to New Zealand saying it’s not possible to win every match and credit must also be given to the opposition for their outstanding performance.
India started their limited-overs leg of the New Zealand tour with an imposing 5-0 win in the five-match T20I series. With momentum on their side, the tourists were the favourites in the ODIs too considering the hosts were fielding a second-string pace attack and also missed the services of captain Kane Williamson for the opening two matches.
However, New Zealand, playing ODIs for the first time since their final defeat to England in the ODI World Cup final, beat India comprehensively. “Overall, if you see it is just the fourth or fifth series loss in the last 4-5 years,” Chahal said during a media interaction on Tuesday. “The other team is also here to play. You cannot win every match. We have won one series, lost the other, so it is not something too serious to ponder over.”
Chahal said the team is focused on the positives rather than losing sleep over a rare series whitewash. “Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal came into the side, so youngsters got to play outside India. It is not easy to play in New Zealand. But overall if we see, it is just an ODI series. We did win the T20 series 5-0, first time, that’s a positive for us as well,” Chahal said.
He continued, “You can see the confidence in them. They are 25-26 years old and batting with maturity. They understand the situation well. It is not easy to bat in the middle overs especially when the spinners are bowling. Rahul has also batted up the order at times. So, it shows the maturity that he knows what the team needs.”
New Zealand were clearly the better side of the two, outshining their opponents across departments. Chahal acknowledged their superiority but added this gives them an opportunity to work on their shortcomings.
“They (New Zealand) have played quite extraordinarily in this series. So we need to appreciate that. Poor fielding happens at times. Once in 10 series it happens, we have time until the next ODI series. We have seen what are the shortcomings and we have enough time to work on it before the next series,” he said.
There have been talks of a cramped schedule with India playing eight international matches on their current tour in the span of 22 days after a packed home schedule. “The main exertion happened in T20s. We didn’t care much about jetlag etc., and got on the park to play. We gave 100 per cent in every game. We are professional cricketers so we didn’t think much about it,” Chahal dismissed any dip in performance due to the hectic international calendar.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal are yet to play together since the ODI World Cup last year. The duo had helped India establish a template of taking wickets in the middle-overs not allowing their opposition to settle in.
When asked why the duo hasn’t played together, Chahal replied, “Ravindra Jadeja is playing extraordinarily well, whether it is batting or bowling or fielding. So, I play half the matches and Kuldeep plays half the matches. Main motive is to do what is best for the team. In Asia Cup all three of us have played together as well. If wickets allow that, maybe all of us will play together again.”
During the third ODI, Chahal took 3/47 and was taken off the attack every time he made a breakthrough. When asked the logic behind the tactic, he said, “Short spell was part of our plan. Jadeja also has to bowl and we are only two spinners. So our effort is to take the wickets and when I got it, the idea was to save 2-3 overs for the end and make chances for taking wickets.”