Deepak Chahar had a good Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) season with the ball for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He was the go-to man for his skipper MS Dhoni during the powerplay. The Rajasthan cricketer didn't disappoint his captain and bowled really well. CSK were lacking quality fast bowler and Chahar gave them a hope in the bowling department.
He ended the season with 10 wickets and it would have increased had he not missed some games because of injury. In a game against Kings XI Punjab, the bowler was sent to bat above batsmen like Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo. It was a surprise move and Chahar played an impressive knock of 20-ball 39 in that game.
Talking about the recently concluded IPL season, Chahar revealed CSK skipper Dhoni showed faith in him before the auction. "There was responsibility and my captain had faith in me. Before the auctions, he had indicated that he would pick me for this IPL. Now, everyone in the team told me that Dhoni bhaiya had suggested my name to the team management at the first go. He had apparently told them, ‘isse sabse pehle lena hai’. He had full confidence in me. I have also been working on my game for the last few years and I needed a platform to prove my talent. He gave me that platform and used me perfectly," he said.
Chahar played with Dhoni for Rising Pune Supergiants. He made IPL debut under the 36-year-old's captaincy. The youngster answered what makes him different from other captains. "He grooms the players. He used me more with the new ball. I had even asked him the reason behind not using me in the death overs, and he said that one should improve slowly. That’s something he practiced on the field as well. Initially, he would ask me to bowl a couple of overs, slowly he gave me a few more overs. Then in the last few matches, I was introduced in the 12th or the 13th over. He has a huge knowledge of how to use a particular player. That’s the reason he is such a great captain. He knows how to get the best out of a player, and that helped me. I doubt whether it would have been this easy had there been some other captain," Chahar said as quoted by Sportstarlive.com.
Adding the benefit of having the skipper behind your back, he said, "When you know your captain trusts you, you also make it a point to deliver the goods. That takes off the pressure. You don’t feel, ‘Arrey, what will happen if I don’t do well. I could be out of the team if I don’t perform in one game’. He helped me improve my batting as well. In every interview, he has spoken highly of my batting. When someone as big as him praises you, it feels really good."
The 25-year-old pacer was out for four games because of injury during the IPL 2018. Chahar revealed the bowling changes he had to make after the injury. "Before the injury, I was bowling at 140-plus kmph. When I returned, I relied more on the swing because I knew that it would not be possible to bowl at high speeds. A hamstring injury takes time to heal completely. Before the injury, I could find my old rhythm. But later, I realized that I had to swing the ball to survive. During PowerPlay, you just can’t depend entirely on your speed. Luckily, it worked for me. When I came back, I could get more swing with a little lesser pace."
Chahar has been picked for India A's tour to England. What is his preparation for that?
"I have to focus on my fitness. The performances have been good and the confidence is also high, but now, I need to ensure that I improve my fitness. I reached home (in Agra) today and will start training from tomorrow. There is time for England, but we have fitness tests before that (on June 6). The body needs only one or two days of rest and you have to start training after that in a bid to get ready. You need to work in the gym and train hard. For the last five months, we have only been concentrating on bowling four overs, but now in England, you need to bowl 10 overs in one-dayers.
"So, the stamina is important. There is time and I will first start training for 10 days and then slowly start bowling at the nets. There will be quite a few training sessions before the matches begin, so I will work on my bowling then. At the moment, my only target is to work on my fitness," the CSK pacer said.