Deepak Chahar: CSK’s potent Weapon
One of the biggest criticism MS Dhoni has received throughout his career is “Dhoni received a well-built team and his success was more due to his team and not reflective of his ability as a captain.” Critics can have their say and can prove with his ODI and Test teams in the formative years but it is the shortest format where MSD is at his best.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has always been a hub for uncapped Indian players and have delivered consistently for them. Manpreet Gony, Sudeep Tyagi, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Shadab Jakati… and now Deepak Chahar. While Gony, Tyagi, Mohit, Pandey and Jakati were all unknown names before their stints with Super Kings, Deepak Chahar shot to prominence in 2010, after bagging 8 for 10 on Ranji Trophy debut to bundle out Hyderabad for 21 – the lowest total in Indian domestic cricket – at just 18 years of age. In his first Ranji season, he carried Rajasthan to their first title with 30 wickets at 19.63. He was subsequently signed by Rajasthan Royals in 2011, but a series of injuries and illnesses saw him fade away like many players.
This isn’t an indication of him being sloppy. According to various interviews back then, at the end of training sessions with Rajasthan , he would randomly go for sprints in the dark to keep himself fit. His first Ranji Trophy season’s captain was veteran HrishikeshKanitkar and he termed the youngster as “Freakishly unlucky”. The incident goes where in a training session Chahar bowled a good length ball and Kanitkar drove and Chahar tried to stop the ball which incidentally split webbing of Chahar’s hand.
He was Rising Super Giant’s early pick but unfortunately injury reduced his tournament. He played only five matches for Rising Pune in 2016 and 2017 and took one solitary wicket but he learnt his “knuckle ball” at RPS as he reunited with Kanitkar who understood the potential of this youngster.
In October 2017, he was initially named in the Board President’s XI squad for the warm-up games against the visiting New Zealand side, but BCCI made anhorrendous error and picked his brother Rahul Chahar instead. Kanitkar was probably right, he is freakishly unlucky.
Chahar had reached a stage where it can’t go worse for him and this year’s 20-over Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy just proved that as he ended up being the top wicket taker and picked 5 for 15 against Karnataka where he ended up on hatrick twice. CSK scouts made a note of it and quickly signed the youngster in the auction. Chahar was a different bowler this year as apart from his line and length it seemed he had garnered pace. Swing was always his biggest strength but someone who can bowl at 135-140 with swing and bowl upfront is not a welcoming sign for the batsman as it always leads to doubts.
MSD’s go to man
In his debut match, he finished with 1/14 in his four overs and had the best economy rate against a high profile season opener against MI. Next 2 games were a miss against KKR and Kings 11 as he struggled to contain the batsman but the bowler really showed his mettle against Rajasthan Royals where he dispatched Sanju Samson and AjinkyaRahane back to pavilion in style and the look on Rahane’s face was “huh?”
CSK coach Stephen Fleming was thrilled to see how far Chahar has come along:
“He’s been developing over the last two years. He had a very good domestic season. His skill set was something we were very impressed with since the first day. He’s actually a handy batsman as well. We think he’s a fine cricketer. The fact that he swings the ball is important. Lots of trends in the game, obviously wristspinners and swinging the ball are very effective at the moment. And he does that and he does it at good pace too. At the moment he’s around 140 kph, 143 tops. He’s gone really well. He’s got to find and maintain consistency and that will come with experience. ”
Spell Against SRH (First time)
His Spell against SRH was wonderful to watch for cricket lovers, as he bowled uninterrupted three-over spells with the new ball, which exposed SRH’s middle order to CSK’s change bowlers. He began with a wicket maiden and the wicket was just beautiful to watch because you saw a typical test match type setup.
Ball 1 :Inswinger
Ball 2 :Outswinger
Ball 3 :Outswinger and batsman caught at slip for a 0
Next over something similar happened and the struggling Manish Pandey and then Deepak Hooda with a smart change of delivery. By that time, Chahar bowled 13 dots in 14 balls. He finished 3 for 15 in 4 overs to pave way for CSK victory.
Encore against SRH
On Sunday, Chahar bowled the fifth over of the innings and followed the same strategy which led to Deepak Hooda throwing his wicket, the second ball of the over to extra cover. A short ball to Kane Williamson ended over deep square leg boundary but the other deliveries were dot balls and he left Sunrisers tottering at 28/3 after five overs giving away a paltry seven runs off his three overs.
Eight more runs off his final over ensured he ended up with figures of 3/15 off his full quota of overs that saw Chahar maintain a nagging off-stump line to both the left and right-handed batsmen. This level of consistency ensured he ended up with economical figures that set up a thrilling victory for Chennai as the Hyderabad outfit ended an agonizing four runs short.
It mighe be early days in tournament but the trust showed by Captain MSD on the youngster surely seems benefitting for the franchise who qualified for the playoffs.
Dhoni and history of Uncapped bowlers
2008 – ManpreetGony
2010 – Ravi Ashwin
2013 – Mohit Sharma
2014 – Mohit Sharma – Purple Cap
Dhoni’s knack of spotting and grooming talent has been on point since his tenure as skipper began in 2007.
It is with such man-management skills and an eye for talent that Dhoni marshalled his resources to two World Cups and two IPL titles.