It was 1st November 2010. As Hyderabad openers and India prospects, Akshat Reddy and Ravi Teja, the captain walked out to the middle in a plate league encounter versus lowly Rajasthan, little did they knew what would happen over the next hour.
Over the course of just 93 deliveries lasting 78 minutes, they were blown away for the lowest total recorded in Ranji history. A debutant had taken 8 wickets over the course of 45 deliveries.
A star was born. Or so it seemed.
Failure was a constant companion of Deepak Chahar, the wrecker in chief of Hyderabad that morning at that Sawai Man Singh Stadium. With dream figures of 7.3-2-10-8, he had stamped his authority and made the whole Indian cricketing landscape take notice in his First Class debut at just.
Talk about making a mark. However the journey thus far wasn’t easy. Just two years ago, he was rejected by the director of the Rajasthan Cricket Academy. A certain gent who answered to the name of Greg Chappell.
Anyways, to cut a long story short, Rajasthan won the Plate League, upset Mighty Mumbai in the Ranji Quarters, shocked talismanic Tamil Nadu in the Semis and got the better of balanced baroda in the Grand Finale to create history.
18 year old Deepak Chahar during his Ranji debut against Hyderabad
For the first time in the 77 year old history of the Ranji Trophy, a Plate team had survived all the way to the final and actually won the biggest prize in Indian domestic sports. They were led by an 18 year old rookie who had scalped 40 wickets in 9 matches at just 21.18, striking at a magical 40.05.
A star was born. Or so it seemed.
However as Rajasthan successfully defended its Ranji title in the 2011-12 season, injuries and indifferent form saw the sophomore Chahar’s season restricted to just 4 games, where he picked just 6 wickets at over a 100 apiece while striking at an appalling 162.
Was Indian cricket about to lose yet another prodigy who promised so much?
Chahar’s period at the wilderness continued in 2012-13 where in 2 games, he managed to pick just a solitary wicket while leaking 148 in 37 overs. The next season saw a resurgent Chahar scalp 21 wickets in 4 games at 21.52, striking at 43.2.
Struggles followed in 2014-15, as a fit Chahar could only manage 21 wickets in 8 games at 37.66, striking at 67.7. Another lacklustre season followed in 2015-16 as Chahar managed just 14 wickets over 6 games at 35.78 at a SR of 73.9.
2 games and 3 wickets at 61.33 in 2016-17 did little to convince the watchers that Chahar was ever going to replicate his early promise.3 games and 5 wickets followed in 2017-18 while the same number of games yielded 9 scalps in 2018-19 albeit at an improved average of 20.44 and SR of 37.3
However, just as all seemed lost, 19 Mushtaq Ali wickets in 9 games at 9.94 while conceding just 5.58 RPO in 2018, en route to Rajasthan’s run to the final made Chahar a wanted commodity come the IPL.
Chahar's 22 wickets in IPL 2019 were the most for any Indian.
He was picked up by the CSK for Rs. 80 lakhs against a base price of Rs. 20 lakhs and followed this faith with an Econ of 7.28 in CSK’s successful IPL campaign. A Royal Reject was now a Certified Champion AGAIN.
He soon found himself donning the blues, out of the blue in England, a year removed from the ODI World Cup as Bhuvi and Bumrah were rested. He was carted all around the park by Roy and Buttler as he returned figures of 1/43. However, the management persisted with him.
And he AGAIN repaid the faith with spells of 3-1-4-3 at Providence vs WI and 4-0-22-2 vs SA at Mohali.
However the best was yet to come.
In Nagpur in a challenging series decider vs Bangladesh, a depleted Bumrah and Bhuvi less India posted a chaseable 175 on the board. However Chahar had other ideas. He stuck early blows in the form of Liton Das and the dangerous Soumya Sarkar to leave the Tigers reeling at 12/2.
Chahar was ON A HAT-TRICK.
Then as Mohammed Naim and Mohammed Mithun broke free and seemed to be going away with the match, Chahar came back to break the partnership by accounting for Mithun.
Deepak Chahar (6/7), the first Indian male to claim a T20I hat-trick now boasts of the best figures in men's T20Is.
However the best was yet to come. Over the course of three deliveries in his third spell, he accounted for Shafiul, Fizz and Aminul. First Indian Man to take a T20I hattrick. And over the course of 20 deliveries, the best T20I spell recorded over 1014 men’s T20I games.
A star was born. A former Royal Ranji reject was now a bonafide International Indian Idol.
Can Chahar now take the confidence of his magical T20 performances and replicate his early red ball promise? Or will we be left with a white ball maverick who flatters to deceive time and again.
Watch the man and watch this space to discover more.