I Take Each Game For India As A Do-or-the-Game - Deepak Chahar > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - I take every match for India as a do-or-die game - Deepak Chahar
He was late to flourish after showing early promise. But as they say, it's better late than never. Deepak Chahar, who made his Team India debut last year is in the T20I squad to face the visiting South Africans. Ahead of the three-match series, the Team Rajasthan seamer spoke about his tryst with injuries, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's crucial role in his career and the upcoming matches against South Africa among other things. Excerpts:
Almost a decade ago you made a grand entry into first-class cricket registering figures of 8-10 against Hyderabad. Since then, it has been a long struggle before you could make it to the international stage. How does it feel to have come this far?
Since it is after so much of struggle I have reached this point in my career, the feeling is special. I could have made my debut in 2010 itself when I was the highest wicket-taker in the first-class season, but this feeling would not have been there as dealing with recurrent injuries and lack of opportunities at the state-level have made me realise the value of hard work and patience.
Ten years is a long time. Don't you think your arrival at the international stage was delayed beyond logic?
Yes, things got prolonged because of injuries and the state cricket association was in doldrums. Also, given the fact that Rajasthan boasts of a good pace attack, it resulted in stiff competition. That also played a role in making me work hard. The most frustrating part was staying away from cricket because of jaundice and thumb injury that resulted in missing out on three-four domestic seasons. I have been unlucky. Before IPL 2016, Pune Supergiants picked me up after Stephen Fleming saw me bat during selection games. But as destiny had it, I suffered a hamstring during practice matches and had to sit out.
How difficult was it to keep yourself motivated during the difficult times? How important was your father's role?
My father and I have the same philosophy. Dialogue from the movie 'Three Idiots' encapsulates it pretty well: Perfection ke peechey bhago, success ke nahi. During the time I was away from cricket, me and my father worked on my ability to swing the ball both ways, generating pace of 140 kmph and enhancing my batting abilities. At that time I used to spend most of the time in my father's cricket academy in Agra. I even changed my action to achieve my goal. I went through complete metamorphosis and stopped thinking about selection. I remember, during my first Ranji match my speed was around 125 kmph. People used to mock me saying I wasn't even a certainty for the state team and was talking about representing the country.
Since your focus is on batting as well, do you wish to be seen as a bowling all-rounder?
I can score runs as well and the hundred I scored in a practice game a couple of days ago is a proof of that. I feel that in white-ball cricket, it is an advantage if a bowler can bat as well.
Can we say the 2018 IPL, when you played for CSK under MS Dhoni, was a turning point in your career?
The turning point was when Mahi bhai first saw me during Supergiants' practice matches in 2016 where he was impressed with my batting. Later when he saw me bowl in the nets, I succeeded in leaving an impression. He was the captain of the team and wanted to make me play, but injuries marred that chance and next year it was Steve Smith who led the side and as he was promoting other players, I did not get much opportunity.
When was the first time Dhoni spoke to you about him wanting you to be a part of CSK?
On the last day of IPL 2017, when Pune lost to Mumbai Indians in the final, I went to Mahi bhai to take his advice on how I could improve further and it was then that he told me 'be ready to play for Chennai Super Kings next year.' I guess it was after 2018 and 2019 IPL seasons that everyone started taking note of me.
You are only three international matches old and yet to cement your place in Team India. How tough you think is the road given that bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami are already there?
It's tough. This is the best fast bowling attack India has ever had. To ensure I am there as well, I try to grab every opportunity that I get to play. Since I have not got many chances at the international level, I take every match I get to play as a do-or-die game.
Since your cousin Rahul is also aspiring to become a Team India regular, what conversations you guys have when you talk about the shared dream?
It's a different feeling. It's good to have a family member to support you in good and bad times. To have Rahul in the same team helps as I can be candid about my feelings while talking about my disappointments and achievements.
How has been your preparation for the upcoming T20 series against South Africa? Have you been studying their batsmen?
I have played against many South African players during India A games and IPL, so I have a fair idea about them. My preparation has been pretty good. My intention to come to Jaipur was to get some match practice before this series.
In the absence of Bumrah & Co, you, Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini will have to be at your best to ensure India win the T20 series. Are you under pressure?
Pressure isn't there. I like taking responsibilities and I have done that playing for CSK where I was spearheading the attack and also bowled in the powerplays. I will say, I am pretty good at that.
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