Saturday, April 20

‘You can’t play both at the same time’ – Yuzvendra Chahal reveals how he gave up chess to prioritise cricket

Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo by DAVID ROWLAND / AFP) (Photo by DAVID ROWLAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Yuzvendra Chahal, the Indian leg-spinner, once, was in with a dilemma of choosing one sport between cricket and chess. Having played in the Nationals and representing India in the World Youth Chess Championship, he had the skills to be among the Viswanathan Anands. However, that playing both sports was turning out to be taxing for him called for desperate measures.

Training 16 to 20 hours in a day turned out to be a mountain to climb for the then youngster. In the end, after a lot of deliberation, Chahal zeroed in on cricket, shelving his dreams of becoming a chess prodigy.

In chess you require a lot of patience: Yuzvendra Chahal

“I played my first nationals of Chess in 1998 and at that time I was playing cricket as well. You can’t play both sports at the same time. For Chess, you need 10 – 12 hours of training and then 6 – 8 hours for cricket was getting very difficult.

So, when I came back from the World Cup, I told my father I will focus only on cricket,” Chahal was quoted as saying to S Badrinath on the show Mind Masters by MFORE on Star Sports.

Earlier, it was learned that Chahal gave up chess since he wasn’t finding sponsors. Chahal, who is now a bedrock of India’s bowling attack in ODIs and T20Is, drew out the similarities between chess and cricket. As per him, both games need a lot of patience.

“In chess you require a lot of patience as every match is about 6 – 7 hours and you’re playing sitting at one place without speaking much. Similarly, in cricket you sometimes bowl so well but don’t get wickets. So, you have to be patient and keep it in your mind that you are bowling well and you’ll probably get wickets in the next spell,” he added.

Chahal’s patience can be comprehended from the fact that he plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He bowls at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium where spinners can end up having nightmares. However, instead of getting bogged down, Chahal has been able to make optimum utilisation of his potential.

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