It seems like veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla has been around forever. But look up his age and he’s just 32. You can be forgiven for mistaking that he is perhaps older, much of that is due to the fact that he made an impact pretty early in his career, having represented India U-19 at the age of 15 and Uttar Pradesh U-22 at the same time. Even before he had made his first-class debut, a 17-year-old Chawla cleaned the master Sachin Tendulkar up with a Googly which perhaps became the most illustrious achievement on his CV before going on to lift the World Cup which the team dedicated to Tendulkar himself.
And now, at this stage of his career, he is still going strong, hoping to be picked by any franchise in the Indian Premier League Players Auctions and contributing with all the experience that he has gained while playing over a decade of competitive cricket. In an exclusive Interview with SportsTiger, Piyush opens up on the secret to a marathon career, his thoughts on what went wrong for India in the T20 World Cup and Rahul Dravid taking over as new India head coach.
Here are excerpts from our interaction with the World Champion:
To start, how was it like being with Mumbai Indians? From the outside, we get the feeling that the atmosphere at Mumbai camp is absolutely different as they treat you more like family and less like a player. How has it been like for you?
Piyush: It was a wonderful atmosphere in MI camp, and yes, you feel right at home in MI camp. It was lovely to be a part of the wonderful setup at Mumbai Indians.
Paaji, you have been around for a while – what has kept you going in all these years?
Piyush: Love for the game has kept me going all these years. I have enjoyed each and every moment of my career so far. This beautiful game taught me so much not just on the field, off the field as well.
Piyush Paaji, you played in the final league game of the IPL 2021 which was a must-win game for the side, what were the talks around the same?
Piyush: Yes I didn’t get much opportunity this season but the last league game was not just a must-win but we needed to win by a big margin. So we just decided to go and express ourselves and get a big score and play some quality cricket.
Paaji, will we see you in IPL 2022 Auction? If yes, for which franchise are you looking to play?
Piyush: Obviously yes. And if you talk about franchises, that’s something which is beyond my control so whichever team I go to I am happy.
Paaji, India were recently knocked out of T20 World Cup in the group stage. What do you think went wrong for the side?
Piyush: Well it was disappointing to see India knocked out, but yes sometimes things don’t go as per the plans. Well, batting didn’t click in those two crucial games against Pakistan and New Zealand and that cost us.
Paaji, who do you see as the future of Indian Cricket? And Can Rahul Dravid help India win an ICC trophy?
Piyush: There are many names for the future of Indian cricket- the likes of KL, Shreyas, Shubhman, Ruturaj and the list is endless and Rahul bhai has taken over as coach which will surely benefit Indian cricket and hope for the best that India cricket wins ICC trophy under him.
Paaji, Australia won T20 World Cup – fair to say that not many thought they will even qualify for the semi-finals. What do you think is the secret behind their consistency?
Piyush: Well I don’t know about others but I always believed that Australia will make it to the top 4. I feel the secret behind their consistency is the self-belief. They have the players who have played these big pressure games and performed under pressure. Once again, they proved that and delivered at the right time.
– One word for Rohit Sharma’s T20 captaincy?
Piyush: Amazing captain
– Define your career in one word
– Who is the future of Indian Cricket?
Piyush: The list is long