Mumbai: Yuzvendra Chahal has come a long way since his Team India debut back in 2016. Fast forward two years later, the leg-spinner has been one of the mainstays in the limited overs format alongside spin partner Kuldeep Yadav.
As the Men in Blue gear up for their upcoming tour of Ireland and England, the Haryana bowler is currently training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore under mentor Narendra Hirwani.
After featuring recently in a Youtube show called Breakfast with Champions, 27-year-old opened up on his national team debut and his first encounter with former Team India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“I had a good IPL season and never knew the team was going to be announced. When the names were revealed on the BCCI website, I could believe my eyes and kept looking it for half an hour. Seeing my name I cried a lot. The day I wore the jersey, I can’t even describe in words,” he said.
Just like any other youngster, Chahal couldn’t control himself when he was about to meet the veteran wicket-keeper batsman.
“I received the ODI cap from MS Dhoni. He is a legend and the first time I met him I was not even able to talk in front of him. When I met him for the first time in Zimbabwe I used called him Mahi Sir. After a while, he called me over and said, ‘Mahi, Dhoni, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Bhai… Call me whatever you want but not sir’,” Chahal recalled.
The leggie also shares a great bond with former Mumbai Indians teammate and Australia cricketer Andrew Symonds.
“We’re very close. In 2011, I debuted with Mumbai Indians and he was also there with the team. He was lodged in the room next to mine so one day he came over and we went down to the pool and chatted for a while. Next day, he figured out my phone number from somewhere and messaged me saying, ‘Where are you?’ and we went out again. We developed a great bond from thereon and have been friends ever since,” he added.
Chahal even explained how Symonds makes him feel at home whenever he visits Australia.
“Whenever I go to Australia, I love to go fishing with him. He is a great host. His wife even learnt how to cook Butter Chicken for me by following recipes on the internet. When I went there to meet them, there was Butter Chicken ready for me.
He is also a very misunderstood person. Not arrogant at all. You get to know the real Andrew Symonds when you spend some time with him. He is always available and has even danced with me on a Haryanvi folk song named Ragini,” Chahal continued.