Deepak Chahar Photograph:( AFP )
In an exclusive interview with WION’s Subhayan Chakraborty, Deepak Chahar opened up about his injury, rehab process, workload management, red-ball cricket, how he is spending time in lockdown, love for guitar and much more.
Outfoxing batsmen with his swing deliveries and Yorkers while becoming one of the mainstays in the Indian limited-overs team, Deepak Chahar was finally carving his own niche in the world of cricket before a back injury pulled him back to the ground zero.
After months of rehabilitation, Chahar was gearing up for the Indian Premier League 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic has left the sporting calendar shattered with the tournament now postponed until April 15 as India continues to remain in a 21-day lockdown period.
There is a massive possibility that the tournament may get cancelled given the current scenario surrounding the COVID-19 but that has not stopped Chahar from training. He may not be able to go outside but the right-arm pacer made sure his gym equipment was in his house before the lockdown began.
In an exclusive interview with WION’s Subhayan Chakraborty, Chahar opened up about his injury, rehab process, workload management, red-ball cricket, how he is spending time in lockdown, love for guitar and much more.
Chahar’s back injury not only ended his year 2019 on a sour note but also kept him on the bed for three-four weeks forcing him to miss quite a few bilateral series. However, he has recovered perfectly and was gearing up to regain his lost rhythm but then the 21-day lockdown happened due to COVID-19.
“I am doing really good now. The MRI reports, which came out before the lockdown, were perfectly fine. I had started to train fully to regain my lost rhythm but then this whole coronavirus situation happened and now we all are confined to our houses. Hopefully, the situation will improve quickly and we will be back to our normal lives,” Chahar told WION.
“Thankfully the rehab process ended before the lockdown was announced. I had my share of injuries before as well but the initial three-four weeks where I was completely bed-ridden was really tough. I took it as a new challenge and came out as a better person. After that phase, it was all about regaining my fitness and then working on getting back my rhythm,” Chahar added.
The Indian cricket team has witnessed quite a few injuries in the last year or so. Be it Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Rohit Sharma or Chahar himself, players have suffered severe injuries which have not only hampered the bodies of the players but the planning of the team as well. The BCCI has started to put a lot of emphasis on the players’ workload. Chahar is with BCCI on this matter as he feels the current cricket calendar is extremely hectic for a player to play each and every game.
“The BCCI has done really well in tracking players’ workload. I mean, there’s so much cricket going on. A youngster will want to play every possible match, be it for India, India A, Ranji Trophy, IPL or other tournaments but it is really crucial to take a break when your body demands so. Look at the number of injuries we had in the last year or so, it is quite important to take the back seat when needed.
“Like I was playing continuously, be it for India, India A, Ranji Trophy before I got injured. And to know my body was the biggest takeaway for me in the last few months. Playing cricket might look easy from outside but trust me, international cricket or even state-level cricket is not at all easy,” Chahar explained.
Given Chahar’s heroics with the red-ball in the domestic circuit, quite a few experts have touted him to feature for India in Test cricket. However, due to the rigorous competition for spots in the longest format of the game, the 27-year-old is yet to crack the code and find himself donning the coveted white jersey. Even though he is hopeful, Chahar is not worried about Test cricket as of now as he wants to seal a spot in the limited-overs squad first.
“Before I came into T20 cricket and IPL, I was mostly known for my red-ball bowling in the domestic circuit. I have done pretty well with red-ball. But to play Test cricket, a bowler needs the endurance to bowl 20-25 overs consistently at a go. Right now, I want to cement my spot in the Indian limited-overs team and if they consider me for the Test team in future, I will train accordingly to increase my endurance levels,” Chahar said.
“Test cricket requires skills but more than skills it is the mind and your body which come into the play a lot more. Batsmen will leave good deliveries so you need to plan him out and just not wait for him to make a mistake. It is a tough nut to crack but hopefully, I will get a chance in the longest format in future,” he further said.
While everyone in the Indian cricket team continues to train at their respective residences, Chahar feels it is going to be a walk in the park for anyone after the lockdown gets over and cricket is resumed again. The Agra-born pacer is of the view that everyone will struggle a bit initially and it will take around 10-12 days to get back in full rhythm.
“International cricket, as I said, is not easy at all. Players will take time to regain their rhythm and might struggle initially when they walk into bat at a net session. Hopefully, this break will not affect their form much but I think it is going to ruin the momentum and rhythm. But yes, this break will work as a mental refreshment for everyone,” Chahar opined.
During the 21-day lockdown phase, Chahar has found a fitness partner in his father as the duo are training together indoors in a bid to keep fresh and fit.
“My father has always been beside me, no matter what the situation is. Now he is motivating us all by keeping the mood fresh in our house. My dad and I have made a fitness routine which we are religiously following during this lockdown phase. We have created a mini-gym for ourselves and that is helping me a lot,” Chahar said.
Chahar has found another partner at his house amid the lockdown. Besides spending his time in the indoor gym with his father or playing highly-popular shooting game PUBG, Chahar is spending his time learning guitar, which he wanted to do since he was a kid.
“I always wanted to learn guitar so I am utilizing this time to learn it a bit. I am working on my body, training indoors, spending good time with my family. These are the things which active sportspersons don’t usually get to do when they are on the go,” Chahar said.
Finally, Chahar had a heartfelt message for everyone during these tough times as he once again urged everyone to remain indoors and stay safe.
“Stay safe everyone. Follow the advisory by the Indian government and take all the necessary precautions. We all complain about our hectic life routines, but now is the time to enjoy the break and spend some time in your home. It will be again back to normal after a few weeks then everyone will once again get busy with the regular hustle and bustle and you will again miss spending time with your family or for that matter, even yourself.
There are so many things to do like I am learning guitar, you all can learn new things. You will not get to spend time at your home after things become normal, so stay safe and stay indoors,” Chahar concluded.