Rajasthan Royals' leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Monday credited his success in IPL 2022 to the closely knit group and said playing for the franchise has made him feel that legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne, who had led the team in the inaugural season to winning the trophy and died unexpectedly in March this year, has been watching him bowl from heaven. In the league stages of IPL 2022, Chahal has picked 26 wickets at an average of 16.53 and economy rate of 7.67, leading the bowling charts in the tournament. He has a chance to add more to his tally when Rajasthan face Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1 at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday. "I know it's just the first season here (at Royals) for me, but it feels like I've been playing here for many years. It's like a family already. I'm really relaxed here mentally, and I believe the credit goes to the people here, who take really good care of me.
It's not just within the playing team and support staff, but also the management, which is something I really value," said Chahal in an official release of the franchise. "The way they respect and love me, it has really made me connect with the franchise at a different level. On the other hand, it's also special for me because Warne sir played for RR and was the first-ever Royal, and I think his blessings are with me. I feel like he's been watching me from above," added the 31-year-old. Chahal revealed that taking 5/40 against Kolkata Knight Riders, including a hat-trick, was extremely special for him to deliver for the side in a pressure scenario. "I think that match was really special for me because it (the hat-trick) came at a very crucial moment and also happened to be the first-ever hat-trick of my career." "It was sweeter as it came during a pressure situation for us where they only needed 40 runs off four overs and Sanju gave me the ball and said, 'it's on you now, you can do it'. That actually gave me a lot of confidence and I was just thinking about getting wickets because that was the need of the hour for us. I think moments like these, where you lead your team to victory, are really special." The spin duo of Chahal and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have taken 38 wickets together in IPL 2022 at an average of 23.55.
Ashwin, who has picked 11 wickets at an economy of 7.14 and is the most economical bowler for the side, feels that every role provided by a player is really important in a high pressure tournament like the IPL. "I feel sometimes in cricket, we can just get caught in the whole 'picking up wickets or making runs is great' thinking, but somehow or the other, I keep reiterating that each role in the game is very, very important." Ashwin, who has impressed with both bat and ball, felt that decisions like him retiring out against Lucknow Super Giants in the league stage can hugely impact teams in a game. "It's important to understand how it (a decision) is going to give us an edge in important moments. I think (retiring out) is part of the future of the game in T20 cricket, and I believe it's there to stay. People are going to perceive it as risky because once you retire a batter out and things don't go your way you might have to explain that. But if it's executed well, then it can give you a competitive advantage."