Bengaluru: After a memorable T20I game against the West Indies in Providence last month, India paceman Deepak Chahar is aiming to perform well in the upcoming three-match home series against South Africa. India and the Proteas will play three T20Is starting on September 15 in Dharamsala.

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The 27-year-old Chahar, who took 3/4 (3-1-4-3) against the West Indies in the third and final T20I which India won to complete a 3-0 clean sweep, thanked captain Virat Kohli for backing his skills.

After that spell, Kohli had praised Chahar and said his new ball skills were on par with Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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“He was really lethal with the new ball. The way he swings it and the areas he bowls in, he puts the batsman in a lot of trouble. With the new ball, his skills are right up there (with Bhuvneshwar Kumar's), swinging it both ways and getting a lot with the new ball in any conditions, and that has been his USP in the IPL as well,” Kohli had said after the match on August 6.

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In an exclusive interview with MyNation on Friday (September 6), Chahar spoke about that game in the West Indies where he won the Man-of-the-match award, Kohli’s support, the South Africa T20I series, the challenges of bowling to Proteas captain Quinton de Kock and next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.


MyNation: You had an outstanding T20I against the West Indies where you took 3/4 and won the Man-of-the-match award. How does it feel and what was the experience like?

Deepak Chahar: It was a great experience. Getting the Man-of-the-match award, it is dream of every cricketer who plays for India. It was my first Man-of-the-match, in only my second T20I. It was a big achievement for me. Hopefully I can continue this performance. Obviously, you cannot perform like this in every match, bowling three overs and taking three wickets. I will try to do the basics right in the upcoming matches.

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MN: After that spell, captain Virat Kohli praised you and said your new ball skills are on par with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Those words should motivate you to achieve more.

Chahar: Obviously it is a good feeling when the captain backs you, like Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) backs me in IPL. If I play more matches for India under Virat and win matches for the team then it will give him also more confidence to play me in more matches thinking I will be good for the team. Getting the confidence of the captain is a big thing. It takes time to get it (captain's confidence). It won't happen in one or two matches; I have to keep performing well and be in that list where Virat can rely on me.

Also read: Deepak Chahar reflects on IPL 2019 season

MN: What did Kohli say before he gave you the new ball?

Chahar: Actually I was not sure whether I will get the new ball because in previous matches we started off with an off-spinner (Washington Sundar) and he was doing well. I was not sure but I got the new ball, I bowled the second over. I was looking forward to bowl with the new ball because the conditions were good. It worked for me and the team as well.

MN: You are now part of the India T20I squad for the three-match home series against South Africa. How are you preparing for it?

Chahar: It is an important series for Team India and me as well. I have done well and what I feel is I will get a chance to play. It is high time for me to perform well and cement my place in the team. I am looking forward to the series. I have played three India A matches (against South Africa A) and there are players who I played against, who will be in the T20I squad. That will help me. Obviously, match practice will always keep you in rhythm. I have bowled well. Before the South Africa series, I will go and play few practice matches with Rajasthan. I am preparing well. Preparation is the most important thing. You can prepare well and on that day of the match anything can happen.

Also read: Deepak Chahar thanks MS Dhoni

MN: Quinton de Kock is South Africa T20I captain. How challenging will it be to bowl to him at the start of the innings?

Chahar: Obviously, he is a strong batsman and now a captain. I think with captaincy, he will be playing with responsibility (chuckles). I have bowled to him around seven to eight times in the IPL in the past two years. And, also when I was with Pune (Rising Pune Supergiant), I have bowled to him. So, I have my experience in bowling to him. I will bank on that experience and try to bowl in areas where his batting is not strong.

MN: Are you targeting to play the next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia?

Chahar: Obviously, everybody wants to play the World Cup. However, right now my focus is on each and every series that I get a chance to play in. My first target is to cement my place in the team and before the T20 World Cup next year there is IPL as well. To get into the World Cup squad, you have to perform consistently for the entire year. So, if you are thinking only about the World Cup, you will be under pressure. Now, I am taking one match at a time. Whatever chances I get, I will try to perform well. These are my small targets right now. At the moment, I am looking forward to the South Africa series.