I wasn't dropped due to bad performance: Chawla

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/piyushchawla.jpg' class='caption'> Promising leg-spinner Piyush Chawla says he is polishing his batting skills to make an India comeback after being ignored for the Champions Trophy.

Updated: July 19, 2009 18:04 IST
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New Delhi:

Promising leg-spinner Piyush Chawla says he is polishing his batting skills to make an India comeback after being ignored for the Champions Trophy, underlining the importance of having a good bat lower down the order in modern cricket.

"As a spinner I need to develop new deliveries and I am trying some new ones. Apart from the bowling I am working on my batting too as modern cricket demands good batting right down the order," Chawla told reporters.

Chawla, who was in the capital to be a part of an NBA event on Friday, said he was not disheartened at missing the Champions Trophy berth as he believed form was not the reason for his exclusion from the list of probables for the event to be held in South Africa from September 22.

"I do not think I was dropped because of bad performance, it has to do with the time and the combination required for the team at this point of time.

"I am concentrating on my game, selection is not in my hands. I am keeping my fingers crossed, my work is to play matches and perform," he added.

The 21-year-old spinner, who is presently playing county cricket for Sussex, started with a bang by taking 19 wickets and scoring a century in the English County Championships.

"I have started well and hope to continue, scoring the hundred was a great feel as it was my maiden first-class hundred. Batting on English wickets is hard because they do not favour the batsmen as they do in India and the ball swings a lot," said Chawla, who represents Uttar Pradesh in Ranji team.

"It has been a learning experience though I have played in only two matches but I have bowled a lot. Pitches in England generally do not support spinners and if you do well on those conditions it boosts up the confidence," he added.

Chawla has been popular with Sussex crowd and comparisons has been drawn between him and Pakistani leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who has performed superbly for the county side and helped them win many championships.

"From the time of joining Sussex people were comparing me to Mushtaq Ahmed and I told them that I will try my best. There have been immense support with and such crowd support motivates a player to play better cricket," he said.

Pondering over the tough competition for the spinner's spot in the Indian team Chawla said "The competition exists for everyone, I am concentrating on my game and playing as much cricket as possible because match practice is the best practice."

Chawla, who is part of the IPL franchise Punjab Kings XI does not seem to be driven by the cash-rich Twenty20 tournaments, saying Test cricket is still the main form of cricket.

"Test cricket is the real cricket and Test cricket comes first and then comes all other forms," he said. Chawla praised India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his leadership skills.

"Dhoni never follows the copybook style he thinks out of the box and goes by his gut feeling. He supports his bowlers well," he said.

About leg spin the young leg spinner agreed it is a tough art and highlighted its importance in the game.

"A leg spinner blocks a batsman from free scoring at the same time taking wickets," he said.

He is eyeing the glory attained by compatriot Anil Kumble and Australian great Shane Warne.

"Main hoon na (I am there)," he quipped when asked who is carrying the baton for leg-spinners after the retirement of the two greats.

The Punjab Kings XI player also said "Development of sports and other than cricket is also essential for a healthy growth of Indian sports as everyone does not play cricket. "Michael Jordan is the only basketball player I know," confessed the young spinner.

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