Shikhar Dhawan’s Team India have already wrapped up the three-match ODI series by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in second ODI on Tuesday (July 20). Now the side will look to complete the whitewash in the third ODI which will get underway at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday (July 23). While the first ODI was a comprehensive win for the visitors, the second was a much tighter affair and India had to rely on an unlikely batting hero in Deepak Chahar to guide the side home after they had slipped to 193/7 chasing 276 to win.
Chahar, who hit an unbeaten 69, said on Thursday (July 22) that he is not too concerned by the tag of all-rounder or selection to the T20 World Cup squad but remains focussed on improving his batting and taking chases down to the last over.
“Whether people consider me an all-rounder or not, it doesn`t matter. But the batsman playing in front of me, he should have the confidence that I can support him. If I bat in a situation like this (in second ODI when India needed 83 with four wickets in hand) again, then it is very important [for top-order batsmen] to know that this batsman can help me and win the match,” Chahar told the media at a virtual interaction on the eve of the third ODI.
“I work hard on batting. My father is my coach. Whenever I talk to him, like if I am talking to him for 10 minutes, I talk to him for 6-7 minutes about batting,” Chahar added.
The 28-year-old, who has represented India in five ODIs and 13 T20Is said that he likes to stick to the basics and play as straight as possible. “I always believe that basics are most important. If your basics are correct then you will do well,” the Chennai Super Kings paceman said.
“Like, if you want to become a swing bowler, your seam is most important. If the ball doesn`t fall on seam, it can`t move. Same thing with batting, you have to play straight. The broader the bat, the more chances you have to hit the ball. Those are basic things,” he added.
Chahar, who plays under MS Dhoni for CSK in the Indian Premier League, called the former Indian captain a very big influence on him.
“He has had a great impact not just in CSK. I have been seeing him from childhood and learning how to take matches close. Whenever I talk to him, he always tells us, that we have to take the game till the end…. We are here to entertain people. If the game goes into the last few overs, it becomes thrilling and people get entertained,” the right-arm paceman said.
Chahar also made it clear that he is not too focussed on the T20 World Cup selection. “It (T20 World Cup) is very far off. Selection is not in our hands. Only our performance is in our hands. I was fortunate enough that I got a chance to improve my batting. I have been searching for opportunities to bat well. I haven`t been getting enough batting over the past two years. Whenever I got a chance (in the last 2-3 years), I faced only one or two balls. I had a great oppportunity to improve myself in batting. I am happy I could convert it (in the second ODI).”
Chahar added that he has benefitted a lot from Rahul Dravid, who is coach of the limited overs team in Sri Lanka. “Great experience. Though this is the first Indian tour with Rahul (Dravid) sir but I have toured with India A under him. We have had 3-4 times such situations there in India A… you benefit if the coach backs you because at the back of your mind, you always know that you have some support.”
(with IANS inputs)