Deepak Chahar keen to stand out as an all-rounder

Bowling all-rounder Deepak Chahar, who is now a T20I regular in Team India, understands that one needs to deliver constantly to sustain his place in the side.

Deepak Chahar at a training session during the T20I series against South Africa.   -  PTI

Over the last two years, Deepak Chahar’s stock is on the rise. He has now been part of the Indian team in the last two T20I series. Having reached the top, the 27-year-old is leaving no stone unturned to sustain his place.

Sportstar caught up with him in Jaipur where he is playing for Rajasthan in the Vijay Hazare trophy.

Excerpts...

How does it feel to be an India regular?

It is a dream come true. I have been working hard for 15 years. Had I made my debut immediately after my first season of first-class cricket maybe it would have not been that special. But after struggling for years and performing and then playing makes you happy.

It has been a long wait after a dream debut in Ranji Trophy in 2010. How did you handle the tough times?

That was just luck. I could swing the ball but to get 40 wickets in the season, I would just say it was a good time for me. After that, I struggled a lot. I got injuries or jaundice once, for three straight years just before the season started. Then I was in that phase, where I had changed my action to increase my pace and I lost my rhythm for a year or two. That happens when you change something. But I have changed my action six to seven times since childhood so I knew how much time it takes. I was in my early 20s so I knew that even if I lose one or two years, I will be only 24 when I play for the country. So I took the chance even though I struggled to get a place even in Rajasthan.

Tell us about the impact of IPL on your career?

Stephen Fleming selected me for Rising Pune Supergiant as a batting all-rounder because I scored two fifties in practice matches. He saw me as someone who can bat and swing the new ball for one or two overs. Mahi bhai (M.S. Dhoni) had told me I would play all the matches but while batting in practice match, I injured my hamstring and missed most of that season (2016). Then next year, Steve Smith became captain so... I could have been where I am now two years ago if not for the injury. After 2017 IPL final, I asked Dhoni on what I need to do. He said just improve your skills and you will be picked for Chennai Super Kings. I was able to do well for CSK and the fact that I could bowl well in Chennai conditions and on that wicket has given me confidence that I can do well anywhere.

Any specific targets for you in this competition?

There is one more month to go before the T20I series against Bangladesh (Nov 3). I have worked hard on my batting and have to prove myself as a batsman. When you play for India A or the country, you don't get a lot of chances. So this is the place where I can show what I can do with my bat. I obviously want to win matches with my bowling, but if I score some runs it is an extra edge.

Is the 2020 World T20 a realistic goal?

One year is a big target. You can't focus on that but you just keep it in the back of your mind. Getting into the Indian team and making a permanent place is a difficult job. You have to perform in every match. I take every match as my last match because I know if I don’t do well in two or three matches, there are bowlers coming along.