India vs Sri Lanka: Yuzvendra Chahal relishes healthy competition within the team

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked four while Deepak Chahar scalped two wickets as India defeated Sri Lanka by 38 runs in the first T20I on Sunday (July 25).

Indian bowlers got the job done without any trouble as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. India bundled out Sri Lanka for 126 in the 19th over.

“Definitely, when the bench strength is so good, we have a pool of 30 players. Everyone is doing well, my focus is just on performing well. If you perform well, you stay in the team and if you aren’t, then you cannot stay in the team. I do not look at what others are doing, my focus is on giving good performances,” said Chahal during the virtual post-match press meet.

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“When I was not playing, I was working with my bowling coach and I was working on my craft. Even during the lockdown, I was looking at where I should be bowling. I backed myself before coming on this tour. We knew we were 10-15 runs short, but that is okay. Whatever the score is, we have to defend that. My job is to control the middle overs and I was very happy that I did it. I always back myself,” he added.

When asked about his conversations with fellow spinner Varun Chakravarthy, Chahal said: “We talked before the match, I told him just to bowl how you do normally. I know the pressure can be there in the first match, it always stays there. I suggested to keep bowling the way he does, nothing changes whether you are playing international cricket or IPL.”

Earlier, Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga picked two wickets each as Sri Lanka restricted India to 164/5. Suryakumar Yadav top-scored for the visitors as he played a knock of 50 runs.

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“Talking about today’s match, the end from where I was bowling from, the boundary on the leg-side was shorter and the Sri Lanka batters were looking to hit me on the legside. So that is why I did not bowl googly much, I was just looking to bowl dot balls. The total was not that big and we could not afford conceding fours and sixes, hence I kept mixing it up,” said Chahal.

“During the lockdown, I talked to the coach, there was nothing much that I needed to change, I was just looking to think about one line that I need to be bowling more. I discussed it with bowling coach Bharat Arun. The more confident I am in my bowling ability, the better I will bowl,” he added.

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