Former India pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji believes that Deepak Chahar should have participated for the team in the Asia Cup, particularly in light of the absence of the tournament’s two top fast bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. The Indian selectors chose not to pick Shami even though Bumrah was forced to withdraw from the competition owing to an injury. Chahar, who returned to the team during the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe after a protracted injury layoff, has been picked as a reserve player for the Asia Cup. Prior to the Asia Cup, Balaji discussed India’s fast bowling possibilities and opined that Chahar ought to have been selected due to his aptitude with the new ball.
“What he was doing in Zimbabwe straightaway on his return to international cricket was like he just pressed the resume button and got into his wicket-taking abilities. Chahar has been phenomenal with his work ethic. He has got a lot of variations. His ability to bowl swing and seam, and pick up wickets with the new ball makes him special. When you have the skills he has with the new ball, it is a treat to watch. Very rarely do you get to see swing and seam with the new ball in today’s cricket? It is more of hit-the-deck type,” Balaji said.
“In the UAE, where the new ball skills are needed to make early inroads into the opposition batting, what you want is wickets upfront with the new ball. If Chahar gives you those early wickets, you have to look at him as a first-choice. But, there are a lot of bowlers and there is a lot of competition. You want wicket-taking bowlers with the new ball. If Bumrah and Shami are not available, Chahar is the one who provides that,” he added.