Deepak Chahar. (Photo Source: BCCI/IPL)
Indian pacer Deepak Chahar, absent from competitive cricket since December 2023, is gearing up for a resolute return in the IPL. The hiatus will serve as an opportunity for him to refine his skills, as he aims to boost his bowling pace and batting repertoire. His absence stemmed from familial obligations, with his father’s illness sidelining him from T20I clashes in South Africa and against Afghanistan.
Limited appearances in the Australia series also marked his recent outings. With the impending IPL season, he will hope for a redemption, and eye a berth in the 2024 T20 World Cup squad. The upcoming tournament stands pivotal for him to showcase his ability and stake his claim for the global spectacle set to commence this June in the West Indies and the United States of America.
“When you’re doing rehab – or just playing – you’re not gaining strength. You’re losing the strength of your body. So this is the right time for me or any athlete… when you get one-and-a-half months or two months, you need to gain strength. If you gain strength you increase your pace as well. So, yeah, when I played in 2018, I was nearly bowling around 140ks,” Chahar said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“When you’re playing regularly you don’t get the chance to do strength training and your pace comes down. This is the right time for me to increase my pace. Skill-wise, I’ve obviously been doing well with batting and bowling. So I’m trying to develop a few shots with the bat too, because when you bat at No. 8 or No. 9, you only get to play three-four balls. So you have to utilize those balls with different shots,” he added.
Chahar as batter isn’t what CSK are looking forward to this IPL
Chahar and Shardul Thakur potentially bolster Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) batting lineup till No.9, with Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana adding depth. Originally scouted by Stephen Fleming as a batting all-rounder at Rising Pune Supergiants, Chahar’s lower-order prowess aids CSK. Despite the Impact Player rule minimizing his need as a batter, his skills provide the top-order leeway for aggressive play. MS Dhoni had even experimented with the right arm pacer at No.3 in 2018.
“That was the only game where Mahi bhai [Dhoni] gave me batting before him and I scored some runs in that game. And we won that game. It has been good for the team because we haven’t needed my batting. Mahi bhai himself bats at No. 8 and I bat at No. 9 and you know that gives a lot of balance to the team and see the batters before us having this [depth],” Chahar concluded.