"Sachin was a little embarrassed" : Piyush Chawla

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Piyush Chawla was just 17 when he made his Test debut, against England in Mohali in March 2006. He has, however, only played three Tests in all, the last of them also against England in Nagpur in December 2012, after which he found himself on the sidelines again.

The leg-spinner, now 24, was part of India’s World Cup-winning squad in 2011, but hasn’t played a One-Day International since being dropped from the playing XI midway through that campaign. In a bid to resurrect his international career, Chawla has signed up with Somerset in the current English season. Amit Mishra, the more experienced leg-spinner, has stolen a march in recent times with excellent performances in ODIs, and Chawla knows he has his work cut out. In this chat with PakPassion.net, he reflects on his career thus far, and looks with optimism at the future. Excerpts:



PakPassion.net: This is your second stint in county cricket, after a previous spell with Sussex. What are your specific targets playing for Somerset?

Piyush Chawla: I want to repeat my performance for Sussex when I played there four years back. That spell in County cricket really gave me confidence and was a massive boost for my career. I want to do as well for Somerset as I did with Sussex. I’ve not set myself any specific goals or targets in terms of runs or wickets. I would like to do my best and enhance my reputation as a cricketer. It’s an exciting challenge being here and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.


PakPassion.net: You must be hoping to catch the eye of the Indian selectors, during and after this stint with Somerset?

Piyush Chawla: Yes, absolutely. After my last spell in county cricket, I received an international call-up and I’m hoping the same happens this time around. I’m hoping that the volume of wickets and runs catches the eye of the selectors back home in India. I think it’s vital to grab this opportunity, perform consistently and ensure that I make the selectors sit up and notice my performances.


PakPassion.net: Gautam Gambhir and you are playing county cricket. Do you think more Indians will benefit from playing on the county circuit?

Piyush Chawla: I think the issue is that the calendar is very busy for Indian cricketers. But at the same time, only 15 or 16 players are part of a squad, so the other players that are not in the squad should be given the chance to play county cricket. The English county circuit is a very good place to get exposure, to mature as a cricketer and to learn. The cricket is of a high standard and very competitive, and there are a number of very strong teams like Warwickshire and Surrey. In fact, there are no weak teams in county cricket; all the sides are very competitive and it makes for very tough competition. Overseas players enjoy playing county cricket as the standard is very high and the cricket is intense.


PakPassion.net: Having made your Test debut at the age of 17, you must be disappointed that you’ve only played two more Tests since then?

Piyush Chawla: It hurts a lot, it hurts a great deal. I never thought after my debut that seven years later, I would have only played two more Tests. My last Test was in December last year and I thought I did well. All I can do is to wait for my opportunity. I’m still young and I have time on my side but that figure of only three Tests is an eyesore for me. As a cricketer, you continue to learn and develop and I feel that I’m still learning and waiting for my next chance to play for India.


PakPassion.net: In your last Test, you took 4 for 69 and were subsequently dropped. That must be hard to take.

Piyush Chawla: Yes, I was very disappointed. That was a very flat deck against England and I was the leading wicket-taker in that match for India but I was not selected for the next series. As a cricketer, I was greatly disappointed not to be given a chance in the following series, but the selectors must have had something else in their minds.


PakPassion.net: You shot into prominence when you dismissed Sachin Tendulkar in domestic cricket. Talk us through that experience.

Piyush Chawla: I was a 16-year-old kid playing against someone who had ripped apart almost all of the great bowlers. I went into the match with the mindset that I had nothing to lose. I thought if he hits me around, so what, he’s done that to a lot of bowlers over the years. But before the match, I also dreamt of getting him out, which came true. He later told me ‘Well bowled’. I think he was a little embarrassed at being dismissed by a 16-year-old and I think he was just trying to avoid me.


PakPassion.net: Is that the most memorable wicket of your career?

Piyush Chawla: Getting Sachin Tendulkar out was a dream come true and is undoubtedly my most memorable wicket. My dream was to just bowl to Sachin one day, but to get him out in only my second List A match was simply out of this world. I cherished it at that time and it’s a dismissal I will cherish for the rest of my life.


PakPassion.net: How vital has the Indian Premier League been in the development of Indian cricketers?

Piyush Chawla: The Indian Premier League has helped Indian cricket and Indian cricketers in many ways. The biggest benefit I have noticed is that you have the opportunity to play against and alongside the best cricketers in the world. In Indian domestic cricket, you don’t get the opportunity to face too many 130-135kph bowlers, but in the IPL you are facing bowlers of that pace and more on a regular basis and in every match. You are facing bowlers of the calibre and the pace of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, so that when your chance arrives to play international cricket, you know what to expect as you have already faced them.

The same goes for Indian bowlers at the IPL. You are given the opportunity of bowling to the world’s best batsmen such as Chris Gayle, AB deVilliers and Jacques Kallis. That can only be a good thing, helping in your development. In addition, when you get your chance to play international cricket, you will be bowling to batsmen who you have already bowled to and so you know what to expect.


PakPassion.net: What areas of your bowing do you feel you need to improve in to break into and then establish yourself in the Indian team?

Piyush Chawla: I’m honest enough to admit that there are areas of my bowling that I need to improve upon. Leg spin is a very difficult art and I believe it’s one of the most difficult skills to master in cricket. I feel I’m learning with each match. Even during my debut for Somerset, despite taking no wickets, the game was a learning experience for me. I wasn’t up to the mark and watching George Dockrell bowl made me realise where I was going wrong. He bowled at a slower pace than I did and he reaped the benefits. This is just an example of learning from your team mates and picking up tips from each match that you play in and carrying that experience on to your next match.

I also feel there are areas of my batting that I can improve upon. My batting record in first-class cricket is good but I’ve not been able to carry that through to international cricket. This is something I need to work upon. I must ensure that I bat with the same levels of application in international cricket as I do in domestic cricket. I definitely believe my best cricketing years are ahead of me. I am yet to reach my peak as a cricketer.


PakPassion.net: There aren’t many leg-spinners who are automatic selections for their respective international teams…

Piyush Chawla: Leg spin is an art that can win you a game singlehandedly out of nowhere. Leg-spinners are match-winners, but there is always the chance that a leg-spinner can go for plenty of runs and perhaps that plays on the minds of some captains and selectors. I think watching a leg-spinner in action, weaving his magic against a top quality batsman, can be fascinating viewing.


PakPassion.net: Your thoughts on Saeed Ajmal?

Piyush Chawla: He’s a great bowler. I always enjoy watching him bowl and his variations are excellent. What is particularly interesting from a technical perspective is that there is very little change in his grip and action when he bowls his various deliveries and that definitely makes life difficult for the batsmen.
 
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Excellent interview - and many thanks to Piyush for his time
 
A very good interview and honest answers.

I hope the Indian media picks this up :) Can only imagine the kind of headlines they will come up with.
 
His only 24?

so he has a fu ture yet, though he was much older really
 
From playing for India at young age Piyush held record for highest number of individual IPL sixes (GIVEN).... Hopefully he will work on his fitness and game to go back into playing 11. However sounds like he has already given up.
 
Chawla would probably never ever make it to Indian team. Not only he is way too fat and unfit, has a poor attitude as well. Tonked easily by any batsman.
 
somehow he is always there in India's ICC tournament teams.
World T20 07, World cup 2011, t20 world cup 2012.
 
Lol he is still 24. :afridi :ishant
He is, but the problem for him is that many more spinners are coming through ranks, far more fitter and with better attitude.

He has become so hittable these days that its not even funny anymore. Probably too much of IPL has harmed him.
 
When he came on the scene first, he could not get much away spin on his leggies. Had a good googly but you cannot make an international career on just that.

I believe he has worked on that aspect to some extent but, based on what I have seen so far, he deserves to be behind Ashwin, Ojha and Mishra in the pecking order. I am not including Jadeja here because he plays as an all-rounder, but even Jadeja as a bowler appears more effective based on what I have seen so far. I have not seen much of the next lot - Rasool, Nadeem, Harmeet et al - to take a call beyond that.

His age is on his side and hopefully he can work further on his game. His time may come.
 
ok spinner, but I think Saj said he would be the next best spinner, no way
 
He did not make the cut even for the ongoing India A match / tour against NZ A. He has really slipped in the pecking order ...even someone called Jalaj Saxena makes the cut ahead of him and has taken two wickets too in one session!
 
He did not make the cut even for the ongoing India A match / tour against NZ A. He has really slipped in the pecking order ...even someone called Jalaj Saxena makes the cut ahead of him and has taken two wickets too in one session!

thats because Chawla is in England playing county cricket
 
thats because Chawla is in England playing county cricket

I'm sure he would not have gone if he had been picked for the India A squads. The squads were picked quite some time back.
 
This guy reminds me of my cousin. But overall nice interview. Seems like a very honest guy who knows his strength and weaknesses. I have earned respect for him, May he play for India in the future. Who knows he could turn into Indian Shane Warne. People may confuse him on his nationality.
 
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Dhoni's misuse of Piyush Chawla in the WC'11 game against England ruined his career really. He is a match winning leggie, sure he gives away runs at some point but no leggie has ever become a great without going through that patch. Its very crucial to give these kinda spinners a lot of backing when things aren't going right.

Same is the case with Mishra, he's a bloody match winner but we run out of patience if he doesnt do well in a couple of imp games. I guess captains these days just dont know how to use leg spinners.
 
It seems to me that cricinfo stole a quote from this interview. hehe good work PP. :14:
 
It seems to me that cricinfo stole a quote from this interview. hehe good work PP. :14:

No they didn't. They have used the interview and mentioned PakPassion.

Legspinner Piyush Chawla is hoping his stint with English county Somerset helps pitchfork him back into the Indian team. In his first two matches with Somerset, he said, he has already "picked up tips" that could improve aspects of his bowling.

"After my last spell in county cricket, I received an international call-up and I'm hoping the same happens this time around. I'm hoping that the volume of wickets and runs catches the eye of the selectors back home in India," Chawla told Pakpassion. "I think it's vital to grab this opportunity, perform consistently, and ensure that I make the selectors sit up and take notice of my performances."

Chawla had played for Sussex in 2009, claiming 36 wickets in six championship matches at 27.25, following which he was recalled for 2010 World Twenty20. "I want a repeat of my performance for Sussex when I played there four years ago. That spell in county cricket really gave me confidence and was a massive boost for my career."

In his first match for Somerset, Chawla went wicketless in 34 overs, against Warwickshire. But he learnt by observing his team-mate, Ireland left-arm spinner George Dockrell, he said. "There are areas of my bowling that I need to improve upon. Leg spin is a very difficult art and I believe it's one of the most difficult skills to master in cricket. I feel I'm learning with each match.

"Even during my debut for Somerset, despite taking no wickets, the game was a learning experience for me. I wasn't up to the mark and watching George Dockrell bowl made me realise where I was going wrong. He bowled at a slower pace than I did and he reaped the benefits."

Chawla last played an international during England's tour to India last December. In the Nagpur Test - only Chawla's third since his debut in 2006 - he picked up four wickets in the first innings, including those of Ian Bell and Joe Root. He was disappointed to not be given another go after that performance, he said. "I never imagined that seven years after my debut, I would have only played two more Tests. My last Test … I thought I did well. That was a very flat deck against England and I was the leading wicket-taker in that match for India.

"However, I was not selected for the next series. I was greatly disappointed at not being given a chance in the following series, but the selectors must have had something else in their minds. All I can do is to wait for my opportunity. I'm still young and I have time on my side, but that figure of only three Tests is an eyesore for me."
 
Thats pretty cool. I think i only saw the quote on my cricinfo app and not the article and credits to PP.
 
He faces a tough challenge to get back in the Indian side especially with all the competition for places they have in all formats.

Nice guy by the way !
 
Interesting read - given SRTs name in there!
 
He hasnt really developed the way he was expected to. Hasnt progressed at all really in the last 5 or 6 years. He's also overweight and thus pretty poor in the field. Still only 25 though so lets see what happens.
 
County cricket is the best many big players came back to the international arena playing there its high quality first class cricket
 
and getting out sachin isn't a big deal!!! he often gets out to poor and new bowlers.. he needed time to see off a bowler before he can dominate.. and during 2004-2006 he was in terrible form couldn't even pick up bat due to tennis elbow
 
Anyone know what's up with Chawla - he hasn't played since the middle of October? Is he injured or has he been dropped?
 
Anyone know what's up with Chawla - he hasn't played since the middle of October? Is he injured or has he been dropped?

His odds are not looking good with the form that Ashwin/Jadeja have been in.

Axar Patel has also been doing well in LOI's.
 
What happened to Piyush Chawla?

The guy made his debut in his teens and looked the real deal with his googlies and sharp turning legbreaks. He had a strong action and was feisty like Shane Warne.

Add to that he was also a capable batsman. A quick look at his domestic stats seems like he went the zulfiqar babar way of dominating the domestic scene for years and not being given enough opportunities on the international stage.
 
The guy made his debut in his teens and looked the real deal with his googlies and sharp turning legbreaks. He had a strong action and was feisty like Shane Warne.

Add to that he was also a capable batsman. A quick look at his domestic stats seems like he went the zulfiqar babar way of dominating the domestic scene for years and not being given enough opportunities on the international stage.
Complete failure in ipl...not good enough for limited overs cricket..there is no place available in test squad..his international carrer is over some years ago..
 
look at his physique. does he look like an athlete? quit eating curry then maybe he could play in ipl.
 
“There can’t be a better team than CSK to play for and better captain than MS Dhoni,” said veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla after the Chennai Super Kings bought him for Rs 6.75 crore, making him the costliest Indian buy at the IPL auction. Chawla’s long-time association with Kolkata Knight Riders ended last month when he was released by them. He was no more a certainty in the KKR playing eleven with Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine being ahead of him in the pecking order.

“As a player, you always want to be with a good team, play under a good captain and you can’t have a better team than CSK and a better leader than Mahi bhai. I can’t ask for more,” Chawla told PTI from his hometown Moradabad. The Aligarh-born cricketer, who was part of India’s World Cup winnings squads in 2007 (T20) and 2011 (ODI), experienced butterflies in the stomach ahead of the auction but he was not at home to catch the action on television. He played three Tests, 25 ODIs and seven T20s for India.

His last international game was in December 2012. Chawla revealed that KKR communicated of their decision to release him well in advance and he has no hard feelings towards the franchise.

“It all depends on the combination. The KKR think-tank probably had a different combination on their mind. On Eden Gardens wicket now, there is not much for the spinners. “They also told me that ‘we are looking for fast bowlers and there is no point having three quality spinners in the team’ and that is why they released me. So there is no bad blood between us. It is all in a healthy way,” said Chawla, who now plays Ranji Trophy for Gujarat, having moved from Uttar Pradesh.

Chawla is thankful for the faith Dhoni and the CSK team management has showed in him but his place in the XI is not a given, considering the presence of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja in the CSK squad. “It is too early to talk about that (my place in the eleven). Chennai is a big ground, it suits my style of bowling. Not many people know that I have played a lot of club cricket in Chennai in the past 12 years,” said Chawla.

Chawla said he attracting a good price reaffirms that leg-spinners never go out of fashion. He also expected CSK to bid for him. “In the last big auction also, my last bid was stopped at CSK but KKR used the Right to Match (RTM card) to retain me. They have always showed faith in me.

“As you said, we (leggies) never go out of fashion. It is is always the attacking option. You are bound to go for runs in the T20s but also have a chance to take wickets.” Chawla added that he has no regrets in life and has not yet given up on an India comeback, having played his last international game seven years ago.

“That is how it goes. It is not only about cricket, you go through highs and lows in life in general. There is fun in that. “I am still 30. I have been playing Ranji Trophy also. Basically, wherever I get to play, I go. I just love this game. If India comeback has to happen, it will happen,” Chawla added.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cric...iest-indian/story-Rj9QiLqSeqneT7vsvqBadM.html
 
Lol 6 crores for this joke of a player. Wow. And IPL > International Cricket? It seems I found a reason why guys like Pandya are worshipped by some fans. :inti
 
Lol 6 crores for this joke of a player. Wow. And IPL > International Cricket? It seems I found a reason why guys like Pandya are worshipped by some fans. :inti

Every year you see some dud players get lucky and make millions. That being said, Chawla is a decent IPL player. Not as bad as you are making him out to be. But he is not worth 6 crores. 1 Crore max.

The likes of Unadkat are prime example.
 
Piyush Chawla being discussed in another thread today - here's when we interviewed him.

He didn't quite reach the dizzy heights did he and only played 35 times for India, which included just 3 Tests.
 
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