“I will give you the chance” – Chahal remembers how Rohit got him an unlikely IPL debut
Yuzvendra Chahal and Rohit Sharma have a great deal of camaraderie both on and off the cricket field. Their close friendship has never been in doubt. India’s limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma and leg-spinner Chahal have often made headlines for their friendly activities on social media.
Meanwhile, the leg-spinner recently recalled how this friendship clicked in 2013 when Rohit handed him an unlikely IPL debut. Chahal opened up that Rohit came to his room soon after becoming the captain of Mumbai Indians.
Rohit who took over the reins from Ponting as captain caught Chahal off guard when he assured him of his debut at the pace-friendly Wankhade Stadium with two world-class spinners already waiting to swing their arms.
“I have a close bond with Rohit bhaiya because we have known each other since 2011 when I first came to Mumbai Indians. I made my IPL debut because of Rohit bhaiya. I was not getting any opportunities and Rohit bhaiya took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting in that game only.
He came to my room and said ‘Tu match khel raha hai!’ (You are playing the match!). I was [surprised] because we already had Bhajji pa (Harbhajan Singh), Ojha bhaiya (Pragyan Ojha) and we never played 3 spinners,” Chahal told India TV.
The wrist-spinner confessed he was bowling well and had wickets to boast his resume. He added that Rohit’s decision to play him despite veteran spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha being in the side was unforgettable.
“I had a good Champions League and I was always among the wickets in the practice matches. But Bombay (Mumbai)’s wicket was such, and it’s still like it, that you couldn’t play 3 spinners. And Bhajju pa and Ojha bhaiya were established Test legends. So I got really excited and it was Rohit bhaiya who assured me by saying ‘Mai khilaunga tujhe’ (I will give you the chance). That’s where our bonding started,” he added.
The spinner bowled a wicketless spell in that game and didn’t take any further part in the tournament. “Then when I came to the Indian team there he, me and Kuldeep [Yadav], we always stayed together, always ate together. He’s like an elder brother to me. You can have fun with him while knowing that you can’t cross the line because of the respect you have for him. So, like this, our bond became strong,” Chahal concluded.