“When you’re doing rehab – or just playing – you’re not gaining strength. You’re losing strength of your body,” Chahar said on the sidelines of an event in Chennai where Etihad Airways was announced as the new official sponsors for Chennai Super Kings. “So this is the right time for me or any athlete… when you get one-and-a-half months or two months, you need to gain strength. If you gain strength you increase your pace as well.
“So, yeah, when I played in 2018, I was nearly bowling around 140ks. When you’re playing regularly you don’t get the chance to do strength training and your pace comes down. This is the right time for me to increase my pace. Skill-wise, I’ve obviously been doing well with batting and bowling. So I’m trying to develop a few shots with the bat too, because when you bat at No. 8 or No. 9, you only get to play three-four balls. So you have to utilise those balls with different shots.”
‘Dhoni, Fleming will have a problem with the combination’
The addition of New Zealand players Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra, who are both particularly strong against spin, and Thakur lends even more flexibility to the CSK line-up and could result in a problem of plenty for the team management, in Chahar’s opinion.
“We had a very good auction and I also said recently that we have such a good balance that Mahi bhai and Fleming will have problems to make the combinations,” he said. “We will have plenty of combinations to play with, so they’re the ones who are going to decide. It’s challenging for them to pick the combination for the 22nd [March].”
Chahar had missed the South Africa tour and the home T20Is against Afghanistan because his father was unwell. Since India don’t play any more T20Is until the start of the T20 World Cup in June, the IPL is last-chance saloon for him.
“He’s helped the bowlers a lot, especially those who bowl more at the death, because he knows the mindset of batsmen – what he is thinking”
Deepak Chahar on Dwayne Bravo, the CSK bowling coach
“I’d say family comes first. If there’s a family emergency, you don’t think about anything else,” Chahar said. “When you face a situation like this, you don’t think about what’s going to happen next. When I came out of that situation, I could think about what next I can do. When anyone sees me play the next time, they should be thinking: ‘he’s an improved cricketer’.”
“He has so much experience. He has more than 600  wickets in T20 cricket,” Chahar said. “He doesn’t teach me a lot [with the new ball], but when it comes to the old ball, he starts giving his coaching. He’s helped the bowlers a lot, especially those who bowl more at the death, because he knows the mindset of batsmen – what he is thinking.
“At that time, you need to understand the game, have a mindset of our own, and understand the mindset of the batsman too. He’s been trying to do that with the youngsters.”
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo