Deepak Chahar's hattrick: A tale of unending perseverance
78 minutes. That’s how long it took for Hyderabad to get bundled out in the first innings in their match against Rajasthan in a Group A encounter in the 77th Ranji Trophy match on November 1, 2010. This broke the previous record held by Southern Punjab, who were bowled out for 22 runs against Northern India.
A debutant going by the name of Deepak Chahar announced himself in the most remarkable fashion possible, claiming eight wickets in a spell that lasted fewer than eight overs.
7.3-2-10-8. Dream figures to begin your career at 17 years of age, isn’t it? Well, the elder of the Chahar brothers certainly knows how to make an impression upfront. In the last T20I against Bangladesh, he captured a T20I record of six for seven in only 20 balls. In only his seventh T20I, Chahar achieved this remarkable feat to create a good selection headache for the team management once they have all their first-choice fast bowlers back in action.
In a recent turn of events, Chahar bagged four wickets in his final over for Rajasthan against Vidarbha in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy today to continue his purple patch with the ball which bodes well for team India’s future. He finished with figures of four for 18 in his three overs, just two days after his astonishing spell against Bangladesh.
Looking at his remarkable spell against Hyderabad almost a decade back, Chahar displayed one stand-out ability which made the entire cricket Indian domestic fraternity notice him for good - his exceptional control over his swing both ways and to fool the batsman at will, especially with the ball coming into the right-hander.
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The release point of his delivery is where it gets tricky for a batsman, as he has an uncanny ability to swing the ball either way with a similar-looking action. This led to early comparisons with former Indian players like Manoj Prabhakar and Praveen Kumar.
Interestingly, Chahar’s path into the reckoning for the national side wasn’t as easy and smooth as it seems. Very early on in his career, apart from injuries, he was rejected by former India head coach Greg Chappell, who was the director of the Rajasthan Cricket Association Academy in 2008. He wasn’t even considered for the final 50 probables by Chappell and was left to work on his bowling.
Within two years, Chahar found himself making the headlines for his eight-wicket spell. However, he continued to improve as a bowler under the able leadership and guidance of MS Dhoni in the IPL, who used him intelligently as a wicket-taking option in crunch situations.
Chahar has played one ODI and seven T20Is, taking 15 wickets in total. In his 45 first-class games, he has claimed 126 wickets at an average of 35.10. In the IPL, he has 33 wickets at an average of 26.52.
The 27-year old is still relatively fresh in the national team setup and will continue improving. Wickets might be hard to come by for him while playing stronger oppositions, but looking at his career graph, the Rajasthan pacer tends to make a comeback when the odds are stacked against him and when his back is against the wall.