IPL 2020: Deepak Chahar, back in shape and ready to fly

Chennai Super Kings pacer Deepak Chahar has been training at his academy in Agra. He played a few practice games to get into the rhythm of T20 cricket.

Chennai Super Kings pacer Deepak Chahar celebrates the wicket of Rohit Sharma in the IPL 2019 Qualifier 1 against Mumbai Indians in Chennai.   -  FILE PHOTO/ R. RAGU

 

Deepak Chahar is a busy man. He starts his day early with basic training sessions and then, goes on bowling at the nets for long hours at his academy in Agra.

The coronavirus-induced lockdown has given him a ‘much needed’ break to recover from the stress back fracture and now, Chahar feels the ‘old rhythm’ is back.

The right-arm pacer suffered the injury midway through the ODI series against the West Indies last year. He was ruled out for at least three months. Had the Indian Premier League happened as per the original schedule in March, Chahar would have had to rush to return to bowling.

“For me, (training) has been easy as I have my own academy ground. So, as the lockdown was gradually lifted in Agra, I could return to training soon and it’s been a few months since I have been practising regularly,” Chahar told Sportstar.

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In the next few days, Chahar will fly out to the United Arab Emirates with Chennai Super Kings. The last minute preparation is on. “Now things have opened up here and I have also played a few practice matches in my academy. I have been training well and have slowly got back match practice,” Chahar said.

Even though these are friendly fixtures, many Ranji Trophy players have featured in the games. Thus, the level of competition has also been higher. “The games were played between my academy and a team comprising players from the zone. My academy team is quite strong. You need some match practice before playing a game, and I have slowly done that. There is a difference between just training and playing with others,” Chahar said.

Considered as one of the utility bowlers, especially in the death overs, Chahar has had great memories with the Super Kings since 2018 and as another season beckons, he believes that the conditions in UAE won’t be a problem.

Two years ago, he made his ODI debut in an Asia Cup fixture in Dubai, and he is quite aware of how the wickets behave in hot and humid conditions.

“I have played there, so I know that the wickets are going to be very flat. In the last season of the IPL (in 2019), we played our games in Chennai and the conditions in UAE are similar to that. It’s a bit humid, flat wickets, so I think that will help. There will be challenges, but you need to find a way to come back,” he said.

Though Chahar has been a promising bowler for Team India and the Super Kings, the frequent injuries have been a concern. This time around, his target is to ensure that he is fit to play all the matches.

“I needed a break because I was continuously playing all the formats. So, I needed some time to train properly and this break gave me that opportunity. I hope I don’t get injured soon and can bowl at a good pace for a longer period,” the speedster said, adding: “I am now fitter and am bowling better.

“If I am fit and can play all the matches, I can get more than 20 wickets.”

The senior players and management of the Super Kings have been in touch with Chahar and the other players thorughout the lockdown. Motivated and raring to go again, he hopes to create an impact.

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