The 31-year-old Chahal has been one of best performers for RCB over the years after moving there from Mumbai Indians prior to the 2014 season. In 113 matches for them, he has picked up 138 wickets at an economy rate of just over 7.50.
However, the leg-spinner wasn’t retained by the franchise ahead of the auction. RCB have decided to retain Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj in their team.
In a recent chat with veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube channel, Chahal opened up on his journey with RCB.
“The journey for eight years (with RCB) has been memorable. There is no right to match (which the franchise used to retain him in 2018) this time, so I will go to whoever pays the most for me. This is the first time where I might end up going to another team because there is no right to match. I am ready to go to any team. As a professional player, you should be ready to play for any team,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Chahal as saying.
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“Obviously, I want to go to RCB again. But I won’t feel bad if I go somewhere else. All of them have to build new teams. Whoever takes me, I have no problem. I will continue to give my 100 per cent. But yes, when you go to a new franchise, it takes a little time to adjust. But that’s why we call ourselves professional players,” he added.
Chahal is also not bothered about what money he will get at the upcoming auction. “I don’t want to say I want (INR) 15 crore or something, eight crore is enough for me.”
The spinner’s figures are good for RCB, but it becomes even more impressive considering that he has played a large chunk of his IPL matches – 41 out of 114 overall – at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, which is famously small and has been a tough ground for bowlers.
“I didn’t have much experience (in 2014), and I had watched even very good spinners getting hit at that ground. Then Vettori sir told me, ‘This is a small ground, as you know, so you have to go for wickets. If you give 30 runs in four overs, I want one wicket. If you go for 35 runs, I am happy with two wickets. If you go for 40, make sure you get three wickets. So I realised the importance of wickets on that ground,” Chahal reminisced his experience at Chinnaswamy.
“I asked him if I should stick to my strengths – I flight the ball, I vary my pace. He said, ‘Yes, go for that’. I realised after the season that if you get a wicket, you get three-four dot balls after that,” he added.
The Haryana born cricketer calls Bengaluru his “second home” because of the city’s fans, who Chahal said were different from other cities.
“They are behind you even if you are seventh on the table, they never abuse,” he said.
Chahal, who got the India call-up in 2016 after a good IPL season, where he picked up 21 wickets in 13 games, also credited RCB for his growth as a bowler and selection.
“I think it’s all because of RCB. They gave me a platform to prove myself. And once my journey started, when I got confidence as a bowler? I had played only a few Ranji Trophy matches (until then), but doing well in the IPL gave me confidence that I would be able to survive in this league,” he recalled.
“When I went to the training sessions, Vettori sir made me bowl in open nets. I got the first over. I got the 20th over. They made me bowl a lot to left-handers,” he added.