Rohit Sharma and Yuzvendra Chahal share a brotherhood bond not just on the field but off the cricket set-up as well. Recently, the leg-spinner revealed how their friendship’s seeds were rooted during his stint at Mumbai Indians (MI) in the initial seasons of IPL.
Yes, this could be a surprising fact for many that Chahal made his debut with MI Paltan in the cash-rich league’s 2011 edition. However, he later moved to the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2013 and has been one of their most crucial members since then.
Chahal recalled the time when he was unable to break into the playing XI as MI had experienced spinners like Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha. However, Rohit Sharma, who took over Mumbai’s captaincy from Ricky Ponting, gave him a chance.
“I have a close bond with Rohit bhaiya because we have known each other since 2011 when I first came to Mumbai Indians. I made my IPL debut because of Rohit bhaiya. I was not getting any opportunities and Rohit bhaiya took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting in that game only. He came to my room and said ‘Tu match khel raha hai!’ (You are playing the match!). I was [surprised] because we already had Bhajji pa (Harbhajan Singh), Ojha bhaiya (Pragyan Ojha) and we never played 3 spinners,” Chahal told India TV.
‘Mai khilaunga tujhe’ – Rohit Sharma to Chahal
The 30-year-old pointed out that he had done well at the Champions League but Sharma’s decision of playing him alongside Bhajji and Ojha came as a surprise. He mentioned that you usually don’t play three spinners on a batting-friendly wicket of Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
“I had a good Champions League and I was always among the wickets in the practice matches. But Bombay (Mumbai)’s wicket was such, and it’s still like it, that you couldn’t play 3 spinners. And Bhajju pa and Ojha bhaiya have established Test legends. So I got really excited and it was Rohit bhaiya who assured me by saying ‘Mai khilaunga tujhe’ (I will give you the chance). That’s where our bonding started,” he added.