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India vs Zimbabwe: I think I have picked up from where I had left: Deepak Chahar

Harare, Aug 18: Returning after a long layoff due to injury, one could expect Deepak Chahar to take his time to settle in. But returning after a six-month layoff, Chahar took off from where he had left off as he bagged the 'Player of the Match' trophy in India's comfortable 10-wicket win over Zimbabwe.

Being out of competitive cricket for half a year was bound to take a toll on the player, but his return to international cricket was successful as he returned with stellar figures of 3/27. Chahar had been out with a career-threatening hamstring injury.

India vs Zimbabwe 1st ODI: List of Award Winners, Man Of The Match, Scorecard, Post-Match HighlightsIndia vs Zimbabwe 1st ODI: List of Award Winners, Man Of The Match, Scorecard, Post-Match Highlights

Putting up a stellar show against Zimbabwe on his comeback, Chahar feels he had done a lot of work skill wise to match that level of performance during the pre-injury period.

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With the T20 World Cup just two months awar, Chahar was asked following the match, if his performance in Harare on Thursday, paved the way for his selection for the World Cup. Speaking about his chances, Chahar said, "I can't say if I will be selected or not as that's not in my hands but skill wise I have worked very hard.

"I think I have picked up from where I had left and today also barring first two overs, I bowled well. I bowled seven overs at one go which is an indicator that my fitness levels are okay," Chahar said after the game.

Having found his mojo back and also getting the ball to swing both ways appreciably in the morning session, Chahar revealed that the plan was to bowl fuller length deliveries. "My plan remains simple, when the ball is swinging try to bowl fuller length and take wickets. If the ball isn't swinging, then there is a plan 'B' or 'C'. Today, it was swinging till the seventh over that I was bowling. So it was simple -- bowl a fuller length and mix the swing and confuse the batter," he said.

Meanwhile, talking about the Harare Sports Club pitch, Chahar said the pitch's USP is a bit of nip in the air and off the track in the morning session. "There isn't any turn on offer or neither anything for fast bowlers in particular. The only help you get is in that in the morning session and if you play that session well, then obviously the game goes well.

"But if you lose 4-5 early wickets, then no team can win a match from there. I felt Zimbabwe after losing five wickets for 50 odd (66), scoring 190 was a good effort."

The CSK all-rounder, known to be a T20 specialist, said once his rehab at the NCA was nearing completion, he knew that ODIs in Zimbabwe would be his comeback vehicle and he prepared his body accordingly to suit the rigours of 50-over format.

India vs Zimbabwe, 1st ODI: Shikhar Dhawan-Shubman Gill, bowlers shine to give India a 10-wicket winIndia vs Zimbabwe, 1st ODI: Shikhar Dhawan-Shubman Gill, bowlers shine to give India a 10-wicket win

"I knew I will make my comeback in this series, which is an ODI series, so I started loading my body accordingly. The day I started bowling, I bowled six overs and then when I played 2-3 practice games, I bowled full quota of 10 overs," Chahar stated.

Talking about his performance, Chahar said it was bound to be tough as he was trying to regain his place in the side, while others had put their hands up and performed.

"Difficulty was there. Because you are trying to regain your place in the side and in the interim, people who played have also performed and consolidated their places. So in order to regain your spot, you have to put up a good performance, Obviously pressure was there and I wanted to perform at the first opportunity because that's all what a player can control," he signed off.

India began their three-match ODI series with a thumping win on Thursday. After electing to bowl, Chahar, donning the blue jersey after six months, led the way with a three-wicket haul as the hosts were bowled out for 189 in 40.3 overs.

In reply, Indian openers Shubman Gill (82) and Shikhar Dhawan (81) continued their fine form as the pair chased down the target in 30.5 overs with an unbeaten opening stand of 192. With the win India secured their 19th straight win against Zimbabwe, most against an opposition in history.

The KL Rahul-led side will next take on Zimbabwe on Saturday (Aug 20th) in the second ODI.

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Story first published: Thursday, August 18, 2022, 21:54 [IST]
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