Dhoni Saw My Son’s Capabilities Like I Do: Deepak Chahar’s Father

Who did Deepak Chahar look up to while growing up? His father reveals the names of the three cricketers. 

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Cricket
3 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

It was the T20I series decider between India and Bangladesh. Lokendra Chahar spoke to his son Deepak before the game, but little did either of them know that history was going to be created at Nagpur. Or that it was the 27-year-old pacer from Rajasthan who was going to bowl that record-breaking spell.

India had set Bangladesh a 175-run target for the series. Chahar dismissed Shafiul Islam for four on the final ball of the 18th over to reduce Bangladesh to 135/8, still needing 40 runs off 12 balls. With this wicket he also recorded his best figures in T20Is.

The pacer came back to bowl the final over of the innings, and dismissed Mustafizur Rahman and Aminul Islam on back-to-back deliveries to become the first Indian man to take a hat-trick in T20Is.

“The entire family watches every match and were also watching the T20I against Bangladesh. I had full faith when those last two wickets were left because of the kind of bowler he is and the tail-enders that were batting.”
Lokendra Chahar, Deepak Chahar’s Father

“Before the match I spoke to Deepak. The first target was to make India win. And if India wins, how much he can contribute is another thing. No one can think if he’s going to pick five or six wickets. But we discuss what kind of ball he’s going to bowl and what he’s going to do,” he added.

Deepak Chahar finished with 6/7, the best bowling figures in T20Is, but his father says the moment wasn’t an emotional one.

“There couldn’t be a more proud moment for a father. We don’t get emotional. We have worked very hard for this. And that hard work has taught us that anything can happen. Anyway, neither of us is emotional. But we discuss how the moment is satisfying and that we’re happy it has happened,” said Lokendra.

Over a decade ago, Lokendra Chahar left his job in the Air Force and dedicated himself to honing Deepak’s career. “He started playing when he was 12 and I knew then (that he would play for India). Otherwise, I wouldn’t have left my job and become a coach.”

“Leaving the job wasn’t a big deal. The difficult question was that there were no sources of income. I decided to give all my time to cricket whether we had the resources or not. At the time, the family helped a lot,” he said.

The Dhoni Hand

It was MS Dhoni who had spotted the spark and pace in Deepak Chahar. He mentored him for a short while in the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant before bringing him into Chennai Super Kings after their two-year ban.

“MS Dhoni has played a major role in bringing Deepak here. Just as I recognise Deepak’s capability as a coach and father so does MS Dhoni. And knowing his capability, Dhoni trusted in him gave him opportunities, and Deepak delivered.”

“Every person has a role. Deepak and I worked very hard to make him capable. And Dhoni did the job of showcasing it to the world,” said Lokendra.

Deepak’s father said the speedster looked up to Dale Steyn, Malcolm Marshall, and “to a certain extent”, Waqar Younis during his younger days. “These three inspired him. And we tried to make him a bowler who’s a mixture of these three, and also paid attention to batting,” he said.

Deepak’s cousin and Indian sipper Rahul Chahar was also honed by Lokendra, who believes honest hard work has been the secret to his success.

“Deepak always wanted to become a cricketer and he had the talent for it too. Or you could say, sportsperson. Any game. Then Rahul joined. Rahul is equally talented, equally hard-working and is also in the Indian team. These two are the reward of my honesty,” he said.

(With inputs from Kamran Warsi in Agra)

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