It was a surprising sight when Yuzvendra Chahal walked out to field for India during Australia’s innings. Chahal was not part of India’s Playing XI and it was later revealed that the leg-spinner had come in as a ‘substitute replacement’ for Ravindra Jadeja, who had copped a blow to his head after being struck on the head by a short ball from Mitchell Johnson.
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The ‘like-for-like’ replacement worked wonders for India as Chahal finished 3/25 from his four overs, his wickets included that of the in-form Aaron Finch, the dangerous Steve Smith and wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade. The decision to bring Chahal on was met with mixed reactions with some former cricketers calling the decision wise while others deemed it unfair.
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It is likely that Jadeja experienced effects of concussion after the end of India’s innings since he batted brilliantly to remain unbeaten on 44 off 23 balls. However, what the world might know is how early or late was the decision to make the substitute.
“A great feeling, no pressure for me when we were batting then I got to know I was going to play. Ten to 15 minutes before I got to know I would play,” Chahal said after India’s 11-run win over Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Friday.
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Chahal’s figures in the first T20I was a stark contrast from the ones he produced in the first and second ODIs. In the first ODI in Sydney last week, Chahal finished with 1/89, and followed it two days later with returns of 0/71. The two poor outings led to Chahal’s ouster from the third ODI in Canberra on Wednesday and he was replaced by Kuldeep. Chahal looked back at his performances in Sydney and admitted to have learnt from the two outings.
“I learnt from my ODI mistake where I bowled with some flight. In the first innings it was a bit hard to score against their spinners, and I bowled according to my plans,” he said.