IND vs SA T20Is: A chance for the Chahar brothers to shine in absence of India’s regular bowlers


An IPL final has a lot of things at stake. It has plenty of battles going along at the same time, but there was one mini battle which might not have mattered to many, apart from the two involved.

A bowler got out in the penultimate over of the first innings to his cousin playing for the other side.

Rahul Chahar caught du Plessis bowled Deepak Chahar 0(2).

There won’t be Faf du Plessis playing when the two cousins come together to play the T20Is against South Africa at home. Both of them though will want to continue playing together for a long time.

“During the IPL final, when I got out on Deepak’s ball, all the players made fun of me for getting out to my brother yet again,” said Rahul in an interview to just before the first T20I against West Indies.

Deepak made his debut in England at Bristol in 2018 and could take only one wicket, of Jason Roy, and had an economy rate of 10.75 in his spell of four overs.

Deepak, then, got his second chance in the third T20I of the recently concluded series against West Indies, and he showed off his new ball skills with bowling figures of 3-1-4-3. He got rid of Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine and Shimron Hetmyer, with the latter two wickets  coming in the same over.

Such was the impact of the spell that Kohli was all in awe of the spell and called him as good as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, which only after a couple of T20Is is high praise.

“He was really lethal with the new ball. With the new ball, his skills are right up there [with Bhuvneshwar’s], swinging it both ways and getting a lot with the new ball in any conditions, and that has been his USP in the IPL as well.”

Deepak came into the limelight after his spell of 8 for 10 on his debut in Ranji Trophy for Rajasthan. He lost his way when he tried to bowl with extra pace and it was in 2019 that he got it back on track and did well for his franchise Chennai Super Kings with the new ball in the IPL. He finished as the third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 22 wickets, 15 of which came in the first six overs.

Against South Africa, he will be the one opening the bowling with one of Navdeep Saini or Khaleel Ahmed or even a spinner bowling from the other end.

In the same T20I, Rahul made his debut and got the one wicket of Carlos Brathwaite, but just like his cousin, he didn’t bowl his quota of four overs.

“I think it’s about finding the best balance that we can as a side and not necessarily stick to one kind of combination. If all teams across the world are batting till No. 9, 10, why can’t we,” said the Indian skipper on the eve of the first of the many T20Is at home.

India are set to play 17 T20Is till the IPL next year ahead of the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, and the skipper has already outlined that they are happy to experiment with the side and try out combinations.

There is no Jasprit Bumrah, no Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the spin twins of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are not a part of the side either. It leaves India with a very inexperienced attack, and it is something that the opposition is already eyeing to make the most of.

“It’s an area that we are going to look to take an advantage of. They are great cricketers we know that, we’re not taking anything away from that but it’s just one of the areas that we think we can an advantage,” Lance Klusener who with the South African side as their assistant batting coach said.

Therein lies the opportunity for the two cousins to make a mark and strengthen their case in the setup. Deepak is likely to bowl most of his overs in the Powerplay, something he is accustomed to and will want to keep taking wickets with the new ball.

As for Rahul, India have left out the spin twins and roped in the likes of Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya who can also contribute with the bat. With Hardik Pandya returning to the side, it looks increasingly likely that they might not want to fill the side with too many all-rounders.

They have as many as three finger-spinners in Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar and knowing the worth of a legspinner, Rahul is likely to get his chance sometime in this series.

India has had their fair share of brothers representing the nation and while the Chahars might be hoping to get many games, they know there are the Pandyas to compete with.

It’s a good competition to have and something that would only benefit Indian cricket as it looks towards dominating all three formats of the game.

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