After Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan and Smriti Mandhana, it was ace leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s turn to turn up on the latest episode of Gaurav Kapur’s popular series ‘Breakfast With Champions‘. Chahal, who has emerged as a key member of India’s limited-overs sides over the last one year, spoke on a variety of topics and narrated some rather funny anecdotes from his life on the show.
The 27-year-old recalled how his father has been a great influence on his cricketing career, how Chess has helped him in staying patient and also revealed his food habits. Later, Yuzvendra Chahal also reflected on his India and IPL debuts respectively.
Here, we list down 5 best quotes from Gaurav Kapur’s chat with Yuzvendra Chahal on Breakfast With Champions.
1. “Virat has given me real fitness goals”
When asked to reflect on his fitness regime, Chahal admitted that he is a late bloomer in that department and hardly ever went to the gym until a few months back. He also stated that his India and RCB captain Virat Kohli is an inspiration to him and is the reason behind his changed fitness routine.
“Yuzi from a year ago and Yuzi of today are two different people. Earlier, I never bothered about my body or fitness. But Virat Kohli has inspired me a lot. He knows that I am not the person to indulge in too much gym or exercise.. but now he tells me that you are a star and need to take care of your body and fitness.
“For the last 6-7 months, I’ve been doing gym regularly and training hard. What I have also realized is that all this is necessary, you stand out in the ground and it shows,” Yuzvendra Chahal said on Breakfast With Champions.
2. “Shane Warne was my cricketing hero while growing up”
Yuzvendra Chahal also revealed that he grew up watching videos of legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne and has even modeled his action on the retired great.
“I even copied Shane Warne’s action during the Under-14 days.. but later I realized that there was lesser control with that action and ball often turned out to be a short delivery. So I also started watching some other leg-spinners like Piyush Chawla and noticed that if I tweak my action a bit, the spin might reduce but the accuracy will certainly go up. So I did that in the series of a match and got 5 wickets in the next match. Bringing in that subtle change was perhaps the best decision of my career,” he stated.
3. “Ashish Nehra’s presence in the RCB camp has been a big help for all the newbies”
Moving on to discuss his IPL stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Ashish Nehra‘s entry in their setup, Yuzvendra Chahal was very clear in stating that having the retired Indian pacer around has been massive for all the new Indian players at the franchise and how they have benefited a great deal from Nehra’s presence in the dressing room.
He said: “It is good that Ashish Nehra is in RCB. He has been a big help to all the young Indian players who are new to our setup. Players who are playing with us for the first time can go up to him and talk freely. That might not be the case with Daniel Vettori (head coach) or Virat Kohli (captain) as the newbie might be a bit hesitant and intimidated by those two.
“So, in Ashish Nehra, you have a guy who you can walk up to and speak about anything and everything under the sun. He is always up for a chat. He makes you so comfortable, having him around is great. The likes of Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya.. Nehra has been a big guiding force for them.”
4. “MS Dhoni presented me with the India cap”
“I received the ODI cap from the great MS Dhoni. He is a legend and I was with him for the first time. I was not even able to talk in front of him. He talks so nicely that you wonder if he is really Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the legend,” he said.
“During Zimbabwe tour when I met him first, I used to call him Mahi Sir. After a while, he called me and said, ‘Mahi, Dhoni, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Bhai. Call me whatever you want.‘”
5. “I’m very close to Andrew Symonds”
In the end, Yuzvendra Chahal narrated the rather strange tale of his friendship with former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and how the two became real close buddies during their time together at Mumbai Indians.
“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. Him and his wife still keep in touch with me after all this time. They refer to me as ‘Apples’ and keep calling or messaging me from time to time.
“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 ‘Ragini’,” he signed off.