AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

The making of Deepak Chahar

Expectedly, Deepak Chahar is the toast of the town. The teenaged swing bowler with figures of 8-10 on First Class debut had shot out Hyderabad for 21 --- incidentally on VVS Laxman's birthday.

The team which holds the record for the highest Ranji Trophy score — 944-6 against Andhra in the 1993-94 season — now also holds the record for the lowest.

However, this astonishing batting collapse wasn't triggered by demons in the wicket. Aakash Chopra, playing this game for Rajasthan, notes that there was assistance for pacers, but not enough for such devastating results.

Comparing him to such swing experts as Manoj Prabhakar, Praveen Kumar and RP Singh, Aakash says:

Chahar has a brilliant wrist position that allows him to bowl with the seam upright. Like we say in Delhi, uske haath mein swing hai [his hand has the swing]. The outswingers got the edges, the inswingers got them lbw and bowled.

A look at the highlight reel suggests Chahar, a lanky 18-year-old, operates around the 130kmph mark, but it's his vicious swing that proved to be Hyderabad's undoing --- along with their poor shot selection, of course.

Hyderabad captain Ravi Teja, in particular, was dumbfounded by one that swung in the air from a mile outside the off-stump. The right-hander prepared to leave, belatedly saw the delivery ducking in, and was trapped in front. Ibrahim Khaleel suffered similarly.

Chahar credits his father, an IAF sergeant, for his instant success.

"My dad deserves all the credit for what I achieved today. He has been my mentor, doing crazy things for me, just to see me make it big some day," said Chahar, who was born in Agra.

Aakash Chopra says Deepak Chahar has the banana swing of Prabhakar and the sturdy work ethic of Ishant (above).

Chahar's father reveals how he took to cricket:

"I read in his kundli that he’ll become a big cricketer one day, so I encouraged him to play the game," says his father, who took voluntary retirement to look after his son’s needs.

Meanwhile, DNA's Taus Rizvi caught up with the man who holds the record for the best bowling figures on Ranji debut.

Bowling on a wet wicket 57 years ago, Vasant Ranjane, now 73, took 9-35 for Maharashtra against Saurashtra.

He reveals he was unwell at the start of the game, but kept this to himself fearing he would be rested. He would have had a perfect 10 if not for a dropped catch. A clip from the delicious tale:

Khaali bhagwaan ka naam leke bowling daalta (The only thing I knew was to bowl by taking god’s name),” Ranjane told DNA.

“I was not well on the first day of the match. I did not tell anyone. I would have been rested otherwise. It was raining and I hoped that the match would start late but surprisingly it began on time. I started bowling on a wet wicket and to my surprise the ball was moving well,” Ranjane recalled.

“I was enjoying my bowling. There was pus on my leg due to bowling constantly, but I kept bowling and got nine wickets. I would have got the 10th wicket too, but one catch went over the slips. Nadkarni, who was bowling from the other end, got that wicket,” he added.

Coming back to Chahar, he's had a perfect beginning to his career. And as Aakash says:

I have admired the way he bowls, the talent he possesses, the attitude he has, and the way he carries himself. He is a good promising kid with a bright future, and with his head in the right place, and priorities sorted out. He brings with him a lot of hunger to succeed. You just have to throw the ball at him, in fact he will snatch it from you. He has that Ishant Sharma attitude.

If this accurately sums up the young pacer, better things await him.


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