Back with a bang but India’s Chahar isn’t taking the T20 spot for granted

A fit Deepak Chahar marked his return to India’s Twenty20 side with a match-winner in their first one-day international against Zimbabwe on Thursday, but the 30-year-old is not taking his place in the World Cup squad for granted.

Chahar is a familiar face in the 20-over squad, taking on new ball duties and delivering late cameo appearances with the bat. But he was sidelined for six months after suffering a quadriceps tear in February and then injuring his back.

Nothing was rusty on his return as he won 3-27 and dismissed Zimbabwe’s top three batsmen to set up India’s 10-wicket win in Harare.

Chahar said he was not concerned with his selection for the World Cup in Australia in October/November.

“It’s out of my hands,” he said after receiving the Man of the Match award.

“But professionally, I worked very hard. I can say that I probably started where I left off.

“After the first over, rest, whatever I bowled, I was happy. It was a seven-over spell so fitness is good.”

While Jasprit Bumrah remains India’s automatic choice in all formats, the emergence of fellow sailors Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh complicates Chahar’s return to the 20-over squad ahead of the World Cup.

“When you’re away for a long time, other people come in and do well and make their place in the team,” Chahar said.

“You have to perform well to earn a place in the team again.

“So that pressure is always there on a returning player. I had the same expectation that when I come back I’ll do well because that’s all a player has on hand.”

The remaining two ODIs are also scheduled in Harare on Saturday and Monday.