'It was Rahul Dravid's call to promote Deepak Chahar in batting order,' reveals Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was unbeaten on 19, said Rahul Dravid knew Deepak Chahar's abilities with the bat and hence decided to promote him up the order in the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar revealed it was head coach Rahul Dravid’s call to promote Deepak Chahar to No.8 ahead of him in the second ODI against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Dravid’s call turned out to be a masterstroke as Chahar scored an unbeaten 69 off 82 balls to lead India to a three-wicket win which at the halfway stage of their chase, looked very difficult. With the victory on Tuesday, India also sealed the three-match ODI series by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Chahar and Bhuvneshwar stitched an 84-run stand – the third highest for the 8th wicket in successful run-chases in the history of ODI cricket – to take help India chase down the 276-run target in 49.1 overs.
Bhuvneshwar, who was unbeaten on 19, said Dravid knew Chahar's abilities with the bat and hence decided to promote him up the order.
"...Our aim was to play till the last ball, last over, so we wanted to take it as deep as possible, so we can score runs. The only plan was to play till the last, and the way Deepak batted was amazing," Bhuvneshwar said at the post-match virtual press conference late Tuesday night.
"Look, he has played under coach Rahul Dravid before in India A or some series and he had scored there as well. So, Dravid knew that he can bat and he can hit a few balls, so that was his Dravid's call.
"And the way he batted, Chahar proved it right. We all know that he can bat, he has batted in Ranji Trophy many times, so it wasn't a tough call but it is good to see the way he scored the runs." Chasing 276 to win, India was teetering at 193 for 7 but Chahar and Bhuvneshwar helped India record a memorable win with five balls to spare.
"The only chat and plan was to play till the end. We never said to each other that from here on, we can win. Even when we needed 1 run (3 runs), we were taking one ball at a time. Deepak never let the run rate go above six," Bhuvneshwar said.
"He almost played risk-free shots, where he got few boundaries and brought the required rate to under six. At no stage did we think that we are going to win or lose. We were playing according to the situation and taking it ball by ball." Bhuvneshwar said Dravid, who is coaching the senior team for the first time, was elated with the show put up by the team.
"...you get under tension, especially when you are sitting outside, you know this generally happens. I didn't see him much when I was batting, but when he came down, he just congratulated both of us and the entire team. "He was very delighted, especially for the way we performed, when we were five-six down and then the way Deepak batted."
Chahar, who returned with figures of 2 for 53, used the knuckle ball to perfection and Bhuvneshwar said he has been executing that well.
"Deepak has always been bowling knuckle balls. He has always had that and he is executing that well.
"And as far as my bowling is concerned, in both the matches, it has been batting friendly conditions and extremely hot. It becomes difficult for bowlers. I'm satisfied with the way I've bowled."
(With PTI inputs)