Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Returning to the red-ball format 'isn't easy' after a two-year absence, according to legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who is currently representing India A against the touring South Africa A side.
Chahal has taken only four wickets in the two games, and he admits that adjusting to a newer format takes time because the batsmen's approach differs across formats. "It does take a bit of time to adjust because the batsmen don't have a lot of pressure [in red-ball cricket]," Chahal said on the third day of the second unofficial Test in Alur.
"In ODIs and T20s, if the run-rate is high, then the batsman tries to go after you and get out. But in the longer form you need to get them out with your skills. You need to use your brain more. So it's quite different because you need to bowl 30-35 overs here, but only four overs in T20s."
Chahal, however, puts his lack of red-ball cricket down to the paucity of time and not because of any disinterest in the format. He firmly believes that playing red-ball cricket vastly improves one's skills, primarily because the format requires much more planning. Chahal is confident of using the lessons from the A series in white-ball cricket too, and feels his addition into India A's four-day squad is a move towards the goal of Test cricket.
"After 2016 [his last first-class appearance for Haryana in the Ranji Trophy], I have continuously played white-ball cricket, so I didn't get time," Chahal says. "But if you bowl with the red ball, your bowling will improve and your mind will get sharper. You need to adjust on these kinds of surfaces where spinners don't have much help, so you use your idea - whether bowling outside off stump or changing the field - so in this format you need more planning. We can implement these learnings in ODIs and T20s too.
"Because there's a difference between red and white, so the selectors sent me here. A two-year gap is a long time, and I need to stay fit for longer periods, because you need to bowl 30-35 overs a day. It's difficult to bowl a good ball but to take a wicket off it, that's even more difficult. The more I play this format, the more I'll mature."
Chahal, though, is not looking at the Indian squad that's due to be announced for the last two Tests against England. Instead, he wants to focus on what he learnt during the ODI and T20I legs of the tour of England and Ireland, where he took nine wickets in eight games. Chahal's next international assignment is likely to be the Asia Cup in the UAE with India's 50-over squad.
"Not even thinking about the squads for the last two Tests in England," Chahal says. "My experience of England was very good because it was my first tour, but my focus is on this game. If my name doesn't come, then my mind will be on the Asia Cup. So I'll shift my focus on that series after this game."
When asked about India's current form in England, where their batsmen crumbled at Lord's inside four days to concede a 2-0 series deficit, Chahal praised England's pace attack, but also remained positive about India's chances in the last three games.
"The conditions are great for pacers in England, swing is there too. You saw James Anderson reached 550 wickets," Chahal said. "Batting is always tough there, but, it's a five-game series. Even if you lose early matches, you have the opportunity to come back in the final three games."