In a case of another cricketer leaving his home state, Piyush Chawla, a Uttar Pradesh veteran for over 10 years, has decided to play for Gujarat from the upcoming Ranji Trophy season.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the Kolkata Knight Riders player has taken the decision to join the Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat team for the 2017-18 domestic season. Gujarat incidentally are also the defending champions, having won the title last year in Indore.
The 28-year-old leg-spinner, who first broke into the Indian side in 2006 in a Test against England in Mohali, has been around ever since, but has never been able to get a sustained run in the Indian team. Since his debut, he has just played three Tests for the country, although his appearance in coloured clothing have relatively been more frequent.
One of the more promising players from Uttar Pradesh, Chawla, however, seems to have fallen out of favour with the selectors with the emergence of spinners like Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Amit Mishra, apart from the top two spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Chawla would now become the second high-profile player to join Gujarat, after his former India and state teammate RP Singh took a similar decision two years ago.
However, unlike Singh, Chawla hasn't decided to shift base because of problems with his state association.
“I had a word with Parthiv (Gujarat captain) and expressed my intention to play for Gujarat. There is no specific reason of me leaving UP. I have explained my point of view to the UPCA and they got my point,” Chawla said.
One reason that has also been reported for Chawla's transfer is the presence of more spin-friendly wickets in Gujarat. Valsad and Surat, the two venues where Gujarat play their home matches, have seen domination by spinners. Chawla would expect this to work in his favour, hopefully leading to an Indian team call-up in the near future.
Other reasons such as the rise of Kuldeep, along with a lack of trophy prospects with Uttar Pradesh, who haven't won a major trophy for over a decade, might also have fuelled Chawla's decision.
His desire to win a major trophy could be met at Gujarat, a side which has been on the rise for the past two-three years, culminating in a Ranji Trophy win in 2016-17.
“As a player it’s quite exciting to join a team which has won three trophies in the past three years. It’s not that I was not happy in UP but something was missing. I want to add value to the team. When you go as a professional you have that added responsibility on your shoulders. The pressure is different, which often enhances your performance,” said Chawla.