Back with a bang but India’s Chahar not taking T20 spot for granted

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A fit-again Deepak Chahar marked his return to India’s Twenty20 side with a match-winning spell in the 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 has been a familiar face in the 20-overs squad, shouldering new ball duties and providing late cameos with the bat. But he was sidelined for six months after suffering a quadriceps tear in February and then hurting his back.

There was no rustiness on his return as he claimed 3-27, dismissing Zimbabwe’s top three batsmen to set up India’s 10-wicket win in Harare.

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

“That is not in my hand,” he said after collecting the man-of-the-match award.

“Skill-wise, though, I have worked really hard. There I can say I have probably started where I had left off.

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

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

“When you are away for a long time, others come in and perform well and make their place in the side,” Chahar said.

“To make your place in the side again, you have to give good performances.

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

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