'Unfair, too harsh' - Twitter reacts as India exclude Yuzvendra Chahal against New Zealand in opening T20I

‘Unfair, too harsh’ – Twitter reacts as India exclude Yuzvendra Chahal against New Zealand in opening T20I

Chahal, who missed out from being named in India's T20 World Cup squad, was expected to come back against New Zealand.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The absence of Yuzvendra Chahal from India’s playing XI against New Zealand in the first T20I made plenty of buzz in the cricketing strata on November 17. After having missed out on securing a spot in the 2021 T20 World Cup, where India exited as early as the group stage, Chahal was included in the 15-member squad for the three-T20I home series.

However, he was reduced to watching the proceedings in Jaipur from the dugout as India went ahead with spinners Axar Patel and R Ashwin, who made his comeback in the limited-overs setup after 2017 at the T20 World Cup.

Chahal’s indifferent form in the months leading to the T20 World Cup was understood to be the reason behind his axing, although he made a quick turnaround during the second leg of the Indian Premier League when he consistently bagged wickets while nagging the flow of runs: he picked only four wickets in seven IPL games of the Indian leg, but was at his wily best in UAE, claiming 14 wickets in as many games.

That shift of form, however, was not enough to convince the selectors, who opted for the fastish leg-spin of Rahul Chahar. “You want a spinner who can deliver with more speed,” chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma had said while answering a question regarding Chahal’s exclusion. “Recently we have seen Rahul Chahar bowling with speed. Our view was we need a spinner who can find the grip off the surface at a quicker speed and while we had a lot of discussion on Chahal, we eventually went with Rahul Chahar.”

Chahar, however, played one fixture all told in the main draw, that too being the inconsequential affair – India’s group-stage exit was cast in stone by then – against Namibia, which at best would be remembered only for it marked the end of the Kohli-Shastri era. Including India’s practice matches, the leg-spinner played three games, with combined figures of 2/90, including the wicketless spell against Namibia. In hindsight, the preference of Chahar over Chahal makes little to no sense.

And if one thought Chahal would get back into the fray with the home series against New Zealand, it was not to be. At least not in Jaipur.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: