IPL 2021: CSK players did not panic despite cases in the camp, says Chahar

Chennai Super Kings pacer Deepak Chahar looks back at the turn of events, including his two four-wicket hauls in the first-half of the Indian Premier League.

CSK pacer Deepak Chahar in action against Delhi Capitals during IPL 2021.

Chennai Super Kings pacer Deepak Chahar said the players did not panic despite Michael Hussey and L. Balaji testing positive for COVID-19 in the camp.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season stands postponed after multiple cricketers and support staff contracted the virus.

“Once some reports came positive, the team management told us to isolate. We had tests everyday and reports came negative, so that was a big relief. But none of the players panicked and everyone handled it well,” Chahar told Sportstar.

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The India international also stressed on the fact that the bio-bubble was intact and “no protocol was breached.” “But obviously, I don’t know what went wrong. It is really difficult to say, because all the players followed the bubble strictly,” the 28-year-old, who had contracted the virus during last year’s IPL in the United Arab Emirates, said. “When you create a bubble from one city to another, it may be a difficult task. But I am not in a position to say, what exactly happened…”

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But how difficult was it to play matches, when millions of people were affected in India due to the second wave of COVID-19? “It was challenging, but it was also important to have the IPL in these times. There was so much gloom, but at least we could entertain them for a few hours. We were playing for the public and that was the motivation,” Chahar said.

The players would talk about the impact of the pandemic but the discussions switched to cricket once they were on the ground. “When the matches started, there was not much of a scope to think about those things. Once we were on the ground, the only idea was to focus on the game and win matches.”

The Super Kings were leading the table at the stroke of postponement. “The team gained the momentum. I also had some good performances which was satisfying,” he said.

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With the tournament moving into a cluster-caravan format, it was initially difficult for teams to get used to the wickets. Like all other teams, even CSK pacers struggled in the first couple of matches, but slowly gained steam. Chahar, in fact, had two four-wicket hauls.

“Initially, it was challenging because our team had more spinners. When a team is formed, you make it keeping Chennai in mind, so yeah…(that was the challenge). But for me, it did not matter much. Even though it was a bit difficult to generate swing with the new ball, I am happy with my form,” he said.

Chahar praised the batsmen and the depth in the lineup. “Our batting line-up was very strong and for the first time, I could bat at No.11. When you have that depth in the batting line up, batsmen can play freely and that’s the reason we could score big runs consistently.”