SL vs IND | Have one target that is to prove myself with bat and ball, admits Deepak Chahar

After scoring a match-winning 69 in the second ODI, Deepak Chahar has admitted that he has one target, which is to consistently provide himself with the bat and the ball. Chahar also stated that watching MS Dhoni close out games from close quarters helped him plan his innings in the second ODI.

While Deepak Chahar might have listed himself as an all-rounder during the 2017 IPL Auctions, he was largely an unproven commodity with the bat before he took centre stage for Rajasthan during the domestic season. However, for the Indian team, there was never an opportunity for him to showcase his batting skills, before the encounter against Sri Lanka, where India found themselves in a spot of bother at 160/6. 

Even after the dismissal of the last recognised batsman, Krunal Pandya, Chahar showed his unreal talent with the bat, etching a partnership alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar to take Indian to an improbable win over the hosts. Ahead of the final encounter, Deepak Chahar in the online press conference admitted that his target is to prove himself consistently with the bat and the ball in the near future. 

“World Cup is far away, I have just one target and it is to prove myself with both bat and ball. The selection is not in my hands, it is not in the hands of any player. We can just perform, I was looking for an opportunity to show my capability with the bat. For the past two years, I did not get a chance to bat for a long period, so it was a good opportunity. I am happy I was able to make use of this chance,” Chahar admitted in the press conference. 

Chahar also opened about the influence of Rahul Dravid, who he called a motivational effect during the second ODI. He also added that Dravid’s backing had helped the bowling all-rounder pull off the win. 

“Rahul Dravid is coaching the senior side for the first time, but he has been there with the A side and I have played under his guidance and coaching. There have been times that a situation has arisen of the batsmen being dismissed and me being out there in the middle. I have played good knocks for India A and that is why Rahul sir has the confidence in me. It always helps you when the coach backs you. It is always there at the back of your mind that the coach backs you,” he added.

While for several players, the pressure of the run rate and getting the winning runs might have been immense, for Deepak Chahar, it was something that he had witnessed several times in close quarters at the CSK dressing room. Chahar insisted that watching MS Dhoni close out games had helped him pace his innings during the second ODI. 

“Watching MS Dhoni close out matches has been a big factor. I have watched him for a long period and I have always seen him finishing matches. When you talk to him, he always tells you to take the game deep. Everyone wants us to win, but when the match goes deep, it is thrilling for everyone involved,” he added.

On his bowling, the pacer admitted that he has worked hard on bringing out the different variations, including the slow yorker, which accounted for Wanindu Hasaranga. 

“I have been playing the T20 format for a while, and if you do not have variations in that format, it can get easy for the batsmen. Swing is dependent on the wicket and conditions, but if you get variations, you can hold your own in this format. I took a wicket on the knuckleball in the last game,” he explained.

With less than two years for the 50-over World Cup in the country, India’s need for a proper No.8 has seen many candidates. After the second ODI win, Chahar has added his name onto the list of all-rounders who could potentially be pitted against each other for a place in the squad. Chahar revealed that he had received a message from the Indian skipper Virat Kohli after the win, crediting his performance. 

“After the last game, coaches congratulated me from England and even Virat bhai sent a congratulatory message. He told me well played, it obviously feels nice when such big players take note of your performance. It gives the balance to the side if you can come in at number eight and play well with the bat,” he said.

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