Former India captain MS Dhoni is often credited for grooming youngsters in their careers. Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma are the two prime examples backed by Dhoni early in their careers.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) premier pacer Deepak Chahar is one of the latest examples supported by Dhoni early in his career. Chahar was first spotted by Dhoni in the erstwhile franchise Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in 2016 and was later roped into CSK in 2018. Under Dhoni, Chahar matured as a bowler and got the opportunity to make his debut at the international level against Afghanistan in 2018.
In a recent interview, the Agra-born gave cricket of his success to ‘Mahi bhai’.
“It was a long-cherished dream of mine to play under Mahi bhai. I have learnt a lot under his captaincy. I have taken my game to another level under his guidance. He has always backed me. He taught me how to take responsibility. There is no one in my team (CSK) who bowls three overs in the powerplay. I do that. That’s because of Mahi bhai. Bowling the first over for a team is not an easy job. With time, I have improved and learnt how to control the flow of runs, especially in T20s,” Chahar was quoted as saying to Times of India.
In T20 cricket, where the batsmen are expected to go full guns blazing in the powerplay overs, Chahar is entrusted with the job of taking early wickets and hasn’t disappointed his captain.
In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season, the 28-year-old was among the bowlers with the most wickets in the powerplay.
Again in the 2021 edition of the league, before its suspension due to COVID-19, he led the way with the most wickets in the first six overs.
“Mahi bhai has made me a powerplay bowler. He always says ‘you are my powerplay bowler’. He, most of the time, gives me the first over of the match. I have been scolded by him a lot (laughs), but I know those talks and that guidance has benefitted me a lot as well and helped me grow as a bowler. He (Dhoni) knows his players well and he uses them wisely. He knows who is good at the death, who is good in the powerplay and who is good in the middle overs,” Chahar added.