'Dhoni told Fleming 'He'll play all matches. Talk about the rest': India star's sensational revelation on CSK selection

May 27, 2023 06:55 PM IST

Besides MS Dhoni being a legendary captain irrespective of the format or the team with the resources available, he also has a great eye for talent.

Besides MS Dhoni being a legendary captain irrespective of the format or the team with the resources available, he also has a great eye for talent. Over the years in his illustrious IPL career, the man has himself handed Team India so many match-winning options. On Saturday, ahead of Chennai Super Kings' IPL 2023 final against defending champions Gujarat Titans, a star bowler, who made his India debut the same year he was roped in by the franchise in 2018, made a sensational revelation on his how Dhoni selected him for the team.

File image of MS Dhoni with Stephen Fleming.(IPL/Twitter)
File image of MS Dhoni with Stephen Fleming.(IPL/Twitter)

Although Deepak Chahar is a name one associates with CSK, he did not start his journey at that franchise. In 2016 he had made his debut for presently-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) when CSK was suspended on grounds of corruption for two seasons. Dhoni was the skipper that year. All Chahar managed was two appearances that season and three more in the next year when Steve Smith had taken over the captaincy role.

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Speaking to Gaurav Kapur on YouTube show 'Breakfast with Champions', Chahar recalled that India Stephen Fleming, who was head coach of RPS, was impressed with his batting rather than bowling in 2016, but he failed to make the eventual XI after a hamstring injury during the pre-season camp. And in the following year, he remained as a 12th man for the team.

"When I first me Mahi bhai, I was batting. Fleming had selected me for the Pune team, not for my bowling but my batting. On the first day of our camp we had a practice match. I was batting. I came one down. I hit five sixes to score 30 runs and then when I ran to take a run, I injured my hamstring. By the time I became fit, the combination of the team was set. Rajat Bhatia was playing year. Next year Steve Smith became the captain. Funny thing was that in 2017, I was the 12th man for the entire season. Every time they used to tell me, "Be ready. You might play". I used to prepare for all the matches but got disappointed," he said.

The 30-year-old then recalled that CSK, which had returned for the 2018 IPL season, had picked him in the auction. And while Fleming was reluctant in trying Chahar, who had only 5 IPL appearances so far, Dhoni confirmed that he would play in all the 14 matches that season.

"In the next year when the auction happened, they picked me in the team in 2018. During the discussion for the first match, Fleming wanted me to play after a few matches and wanted to include a senior player instead. Then Mahi bhai told him, "He has to play all the 14 matches no matter what. Talk to me about the rest." Later Kasi (Vishwanathan, CSK CEO) sir told me that when the team was being formed my name was written first all the time," he said.

Chahar picked 10 wickets that season in 12 matches at an economy rate of just 7.28 and showed a glimpse of his batting abilities in scoring 50 runs off 39 balls at a strike rate of 172.41.

Chahar later made his India debut in the T20 format a month after the IPL and then was picked in the Asia Cup squad as well in September.

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