Throw him a challenge and Deepak Chahar will relish the opportunity. After all, his life and cricket career have never been a bed of roses.
In his brief international career – seven T20Is and a solitary ODI – Chahar has done everything in his might to make the right noises. In Nagpur, he was rowing against the tide with Bangladesh batsmen ready to seize control from India with a 98-run stand for the third wicket.
“I like to take responsibility and I thrive on challenges,” Chahar told India Today, a day after his historic hat-trick – first by an Indian in men’s T20Is – and a six-wicket haul that handed India the series following the 30-run victory in the third and deciding T20I.
With more experienced bowlers either rested or nursing injuries, Chahar spearheaded the Indian bowling attack and he came out with flying colours to grab the Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series awards.
“I have always believed in my abilities and that can make a huge difference in anybody’s game. Confidence makes all the difference, provided it is in the right amount. I have been through a lot in my cricket career and that’s why I am no stranger to challenges. In fact, I love them and perhaps, that is what gets the best out of me,” the 27-year-old added.
For Chahar, it was at Chennai Super Kings, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that his true ability was spotted and exploited. His ability to swing the ball even on lifeless pitches has made him a force to reckon with. But in the series final, Rohit Sharma threw him a challenge and the speedster proved that he was more than just a new-ball bowler, with two overs at the death and one game-changing 13th over.
In 2008, Australian legend Gregg Chapel, who was then the director of Rajasthan Cricket Academy, had rejected Chahar during the trials and had even proclaimed that the speedster had no future in cricket.
“I have always believed in hard work and credit to my father, who has given his life in shaping my career. He was not a cricketer but he has coached two cricketers – me and my brother (Rahul Chahar) – who are part of the Indian team at the moment. I know every father has a special place in the life his child but trust me, I cannot describe in words about his contribution,” says the 27-year-old speedster.
From Nagpur, Chahar flew straight to Thiruvananthapuram, where he will join the Rajasthan team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Chahar’s name was doing the rounds for the 2019 World Cup selection but eventually he missed the bus.
With T20 World Cup now less than a year away, Chahar would not want to miss out this time, especially having proved his credentials in the format. So what happens when the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are back? Will Chahar have to play a second fiddle to these more fancied names?
“I am ready for every role that I am given. But if you ask me, as I said, I prefer to take the responsibility upfront. I always take it one game at a time and right now, I just wish to keep going the way I am at the moment. By god’s grace and my hard work, I have reached here, let’s see where it takes me from here on,” added Chahar.