One of the things which took many by surprise after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the India squad for T20 World Cup 2021 was the absence of Deepak Chahar from the 15-member main outfit.
Although Chahar did feature in the list of reserves alongside Shardul Thakur and Shreyas Iyer, his non-appearance from the main squad came as a setback for many as Chahar has proved his credentials as a T20 bowler in international cricket.
BCCI, in fact, only went with three pacers in the 15-member squad in the form of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, with Bhuvi being the only swing bowler.
But could there be a possibility of preferring Chahar over Bhuvneshwar? Well, many might not agree, but former international cricketers Sanjay Manjrekar and Ian Bishop think otherwise. In a chat with ESPNcricinfo, both the cricketer-turned-commentators were asked who deserved the spot in the T20 World Cup between Bhuvneshwar and Chahar.
Manjrekar reckoned the current form of Chahar is much better than Bhuvneshwar, therefore, he should be in the squad.
“Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not at the prime of his abilities and form and skills, whereas Deepak Chahar is the best that we’ve seen him for a while. So when you make a current comparison between the two, I am in no doubt that currently Chahar is a greater value in a T20 team than Bhuvneshwar. But I completely understand why he (Bhuvi) is in the squad. But just based on pure clinical assessment of the two at this stage, Chahar is slightly ahead,” explained Manjrekar.
Bishop also echoed what Manjrekar asserted and felt Chahar was a bit unlucky to be left out as he is currently the best swing bowler in the shortest format, especially in the powerplay.
“I thought that Deepak was unlucky to be left out as well, if they were gonna take an extra seamer, I understand why India would have gone with Bhuvi’s history, in terms of his expertise over a long time, but right now I would agree with Sanjay Manjrekar that Deepak has better form and he swings the new ball more than any other bowler in this format of the game in the powerplay,” said Bishop.
The Windies legend also explained that Bhuvi was given preference due to his ability to bowl in death overs. However, he did mention that considering the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), Chahar is in better bowling form.
“One of the differences could be that, although Deepak is bowling a little bit more at death, his expertise at the death, bowling in different phases when he is at his best, is excellent. I thought I saw a little bit of it coming back in the last game, to be honest, a little bit more form coming back, but if you are talking about the course of the IPL, Deepak Chahar is in better bowling form,” added Bishop.