During the lockdown, Chahar was in constant touch with his Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and took his advice to remain fit. Chahar says he is grateful to have a legend like Dhoni by his side.
“I have been in touch with Mahi bhai during this period. Some days back he had made a phone call and said “body mei aa gai tere energy level? Baar baar injured kyun ho jata hai (have you got your energy levels back? Why do you get injured so often?). His phone calls really motivated me. It feels great when a legend like him calls and gives advice. I am happy to have a legend like Mahi bhai by my side,” Chahar told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
“Mahi bhai gives me proper advice. He has suggested a few exercises to keep myself fit. He has asked me to take proper rest. He always says one thing – ‘unfit nahi hona hai tune’ (you can’t be unfit),” the 28-year-old fast bowler said.
A fit-again Chahar is now raring to go and hit the field. He has become an important member in the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings side and is confident that Dhoni, who will be seen in action after almost one-and-a-half years, will guide CSK to a title win again.
Dhoni last played in India colours during the ICC World Cup 2019 semi-final against New Zealand. India were chasing 240 to win to enter the final. Dhoni scored 50 runs off 72 balls but failed to take the Men in Blue across the finish line. India crashed out of the mega event after suffering an 18-run defeat against the Kiwis in Manchester.
“I have played a lot of cricket under him (MS Dhoni). I have been playing for CSK for four years now. CSK is like a family and Mahi bhai handles it really well. I know he hasn’t played for India for the past one year. But watching him again on the cricket field will be so exciting. I am also eager to play under him,” an excited Chahar, who has played 3 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India so far told TimesofIndia.com.
“I am really looking forward to the IPL, as nothing was happening in Indian cricket. I am so excited that the tournament is set to begin. I am confident that Mahi bhai will take CSK to the title win this time. I got injured in December last year and since then I haven’t played any cricket. I want to start afresh and IPL will give me that platform. I am fit and raring to go. Due to the lockdown, I got a lot of time for myself. In this period I took rest, recuperated from the injury and introspected. I was lucky that I have an academy near my house. I go there for my daily practice and training,” he said.
Chahar has been playing under Dhoni’s leadership in IPL for four years. He was the part of the Rising Pune Supergiant franchise (now defunct) in 2016 and 2017 and was bought by CSK in 2018.
In 34 IPL matches so far, Chahar has claimed 33 wickets.
“IPL has taught me a lot. Handling pressure – that is the main thing I learnt from the tournament. Sometimes you sit in the dugout and see your team-mates get hammered for runs or take wickets. And, after some matches, you go out and experience the same. IPL is fun, as well as a big learning platform. When you take a wicket or hit a six, fans cheer for you. You can’t express what that feeling is like. It’s out of the world. This time, I will be certainly missing that (fans in the stadium), but I know fans will be cheering while watching the matches on television this time,” Chahar who has taken 19 international wickets so far told TimesofIndia.com.
“I always want to play in a yellow jersey and want my captain to be Mahi bhai. He is an amazing leader. He gives us advice ahead of a match and after the match. Once I asked him, Mahi bhai, kya karu? (What do I do)? He instantly said ‘woh tera kaam hai’ (That’s your job). But he came up to me and advised me. He is a person who will inject confidence in you. He will make you remember what your strengths are,” Chahar signed off.