IPL 2021: “I was chosen for Pune as a batting all-rounder” - Deepak Chahar makes stunning revelation about IPL selection

Deepak Chahar scored a match-winning 69 in an ODI in Sri Lanka. Pic: ICC
Deepak Chahar scored a match-winning 69 in an ODI in Sri Lanka. Pic: ICC

Team India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer Deepak Chahar has revealed that he was chosen by Rising Pune Supergiant coach Stephen Fleming as a batting all-rounder during IPL 2016.

Chahar represented the Pune franchise for two seasons before moving to CSK, where Fleming remains his coach. Although he has made a name for himself as a match-winning swing bowler, the 29-year-old asserted that he has been focusing on his batting since 2014.

A lot of people were surprised when Deepak Chahar made a match-winning 69 not out in an ODI in Sri Lanka. However, the bowler, in an interaction with Aakash Chopra, revealed that he has always had decent batting ability.

“When I was chosen for Pune in the IPL, (Stephen) Fleming Sir had actually selected me as a batting all-rounder, not a bowling all-rounder. During the first trial game, I scored 48 or 49. Next day, he promoted me to one-down and I scored a half-century. That’s how I was selected in the Pune team,” Deepak Chahar told Chopra on the latter’s YouTube channel.

According to the pacer, his current IPL captain MS Dhoni values players who contribute in various departments. Deepak Chahar, himself, is keen to become a versatile cricketer.

“After Pune, I came to CSK. MS Dhoni likes players who can contribute in all departments. In 2018, he sent me ahead of himself in one of the games and I made 40-odd in 19-20 balls. But after that I didn’t get to bat much. I have been working on my batting since 2014 as there is too much competition in bowling. If you contribute with the bat, it gives you an edge during selection,” Deepak Chahar further added.

The medium pacer has been left out of India’s 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup. However, he finds a place as one of the three reserves.

“My numbers are better than many death bowlers” - Deepak Chahar

Despite his success for India and CSK, one of the criticisms often leveled at Deepak Chahar is that he doesn’t bowl at the death. The 29-year-old finds the theory rather unfair. Countering the argument, he stated:

“People always say that I don’t bowl at the death. But, if I am given an opportunity at the death, that's when I can prove myself. I can show you the stats, you'll be surprised to know that my numbers are better than many death bowlers! No one speaks about it. Against Bangladesh, my six-for came with the old ball. In fact, in that particular series, 80 percent of my wickets came with the old ball.”

Asked whether he has ever requested Dhoni to give him CSK's death overs, Chahar, in a light-hearted tone, replied:

“I requested Dhoni to bowl me at the death in my first season. He replied 'I groom players'. That's it. Never dared to ask him after that.”

Deepak Chahar claimed eight wickets in seven matches in the first half of IPL 2021, with his best figures of 4/13 coming against Punjab Kings.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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