'I don't care who's playing and who isn't': India pacer on competing with Arshdeep, Umran and Co. after injury recovery
With Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj seemingly locked in, there is currently just one spot up for grabs for fast bowlers in the Indian team for the ODI World Cup.
Deepak Chahar was being seen as a prime candidate to be a potent weapon in India's fast bowling battery just under a year before the 2021 T20 World Cup, considering his stellar performances for the Indian ODI side led by Shikhar Dhawan in Sri Lanka, with the ball as well as the bat in the lower order. However, injuries ended up putting a spanner in the works and he eventually lost his place in the pecking order.
The 30-year-old fast bowler had a tough time recovering from a stress fracture and more recently a quad grade 3 tear. Chahar last played for India in the second ODI in Bangladesh where he broke down after bowling three overs. In the whole of 2022, Chahar could only feature in 15 games for India and was also ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to injury.
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Chahar is, however, insists that he is on his way back. Having done an extensive rehab at the National Cricket Academy, Chahar is preparing for the IPL where he will represent the Chennai Super Kings. Since making his India debut in July 2018, he has managed to play in 13 ODIs and 24 T20s.
"I working hard for the past two three months on my fitness, I am fully fit and preparing well for the IPL," Chahar told PTI. "I had two big injures. One was stress fracture and one was quad grade 3 tear. They are both are very big injuries. You are out for months. Anyone who comes back after the injury it takes time, especially for the fast bowlers.
"If I was a batter I would be playing way back long but as a fast bowler, when you have a stress fracture, it is very tough to get back on track. You can see other bowlers struggling with the back as well."
The Rajasthan pacer made a return to competitive cricket with a first-class game against Services last month but that was his only appearance in Ranji Trophy. Multiple injuries have pushed him down in the pecking order but he hopes to be part of the Indian team for the ODI World Cup at home later this year. Chahar faces stiff competition though. With Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj seemingly locked in alongwith Mohammed Shami, it is the fourth seamer's spot that will be up for grabs and Chahar is up against Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik. Senior fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar could also be in contention, possibly depending on how he performs in the IPL.
Chahar, however, says he is not worrying himself about who is up against. "I have lived by one rule all my life. If I am fully bowling the way I want, if I am batting the way I want, there is no stopping me. That was the basic rule with which I started my career. I don't care who is playing, who is not playing , my motive is to get fully fit and perform with the ball and bat 100 per cent. If I do that, I will get my chances," said Chahar.