Leg-spin has become a trend across the globe in white-ball cricket. We see more and more wrist(leg)-spinners coming to the fore. Their importance has grown as even though they tend to go for a few runs they also pick up wickets.
The trend has picked up in Indian too. India’s white-ball spin attack is largely dominated by the two wrist-spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Apart from the two, there are multiple ones coming through the ranks in domestic cricket. One among them is Rahul Chahar.
The Rajasthan leg-spinner who played for Mumbai Indians (MI) earlier this year in the IPL made his international debut earlier this month. He played the third T20I against West Indies in Guyana. The young leg-spinner wasn’t picked for the ODIs and returned home after the three-match T20I series. He will now play in the Duleep Trophy which kickstarts the Indian domestic season.
Thus, here is a look at some interesting facts about Rahul Chahar.
Birth and early life
Rahul Chahar international debut. (Photo Source: RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)
Rahul Chahar was born in a small city in Rajasthan named Bharatpur. He was born on August 4, 2000. He started playing cricket at a very young age. Cricket runs in his blood as he is the brother of Deepak Chahar. The duo used to play cricket together in their childhood.
Like the latter, Rahul wanted to be a fast bowler but Deepak persuaded him to take up leg-spin as he was good at it. Rahul started with tape cricket as a young kid and it was his uncle (tauji) who helped him grow as a player. Over the years, Rahul’s uncle who was Deepak’s father nurtured the duo. At a pretty small age, Rahul decided to sacrifice his studies and school to concentrate on cricket. It was his uncle who helped him in his initial years and was his first coach as well.
Rising up the ranks and first-class debut at 16
Rahul Chahar progressed nicely through the different age groups. He played all kinds of age cricket before he was picked to represent his state side, Rajasthan. The leg-spinner made his first-class debut in the 2016-17 season. It was in November 2016 that he made his first-class debut as a 16-year-old. Playing against Odisha, the leggie made a good start.
Rahul Chahar had first contributed with 10 runs batting at No. 11 as Rajasthan made 323 batting first. He was the fourth bowler who was introduced into the attack and bowled a spell of nine overs and picked up one wicket as Odisha were bowled out for 172. However, he struggled in the second innings as he bowled 33 overs and conceded 119 runs while picking up one wicket. That was the only first-class game he played that season.
List ‘A’ debut
Rahul Chahar. (Photo Source: Instagram)
Almost four months after his first-class debut, Rahul Chahar had made his List ‘A’ debut as well. In February 2017, the young leggie strode out to play the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Rajasthan for the first time. Playing against Madhya Pradesh, the younger Chahar had a mixed debut.
Coming in to bat at No. 8, the right-hander struck a couple of lusty blows. His 6-ball 14 helped Rajasthan get over the 200-mark as they eventually got to 212. With the ball, he was expensive. He bowled five overs and conceded 48 runs and picked up one wicket. However, he got better as the tournament progressed. Rahul picked up six wickets in five games at an economy of 4.59.
IPL debut followed soon after
After an impressive outing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, an IPL debut awaited Rahul Chahar. The Rajasthan wrist-spinner played for the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). He made his debut early in the 2017 season. However, he played just three games in the tournament. He took 1/32 from his four overs on debut which included the wicket of Hashim Amla. Apart from that, he managed to pick up just one more wicket in the entire tournament.
Under-19 success and the World Cup snub
Rahul Chahar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Through 2016 and 2017, Rahul Chahar was constantly in the scheme of things at the Under 19 level. After India’s defeat in the final of the Under 19 World Cup in 2016, they started to build towards the 2018 event. The leggie seemed to be a big part of the plans.
Chahar played eight One-Day games and picked up 19 wickets at an average of 15.26. He was mighty effective and was ripping through batting line-ups. However, much to his shock, he was overlooked for 2018 Under 19 World Cup. Not only Chahar, but most people were surprised at his omission as well. He didn’t shy away from expressing his disappointment either.
The BCCI confusion in 2017
In 2017, New Zealand travelled to India for a limited-overs series. They played three ODIs and as many T20Is. However, before the series was underway, the Kiwis faced Board President’s XI. Like most times, BCCI rewarded consistent performers with a spot in that squad.
However, there was a big confusion. Rahul Chahar who had been doing well for India Under 19 was supposed to be named in the squad but his brother Deepak Chahar was named. But the board later admitted that they had made a mistake and eventually, the leggie was included in the squad. However, the younger Chahar didn’t play any of the tour games.
Mumbai Indians pick up Rahul Chahar for 1.9 crores in the 2018 IPL Auction
Mumbai Indians. (Photo: IANS)
Rahul Chahar was pretty disappointed that he couldn’t make it to the Under 19 World Cup team in 2018. However, that disappointment soon turned into joy as he was picked up by Mumbai Indians (MI) in the 2018 IPL Auctions. He was paid a hefty sum of 1.8 crore rupees.
However, Chahar never played a single game in that season as MI preferred to play Mayank Markande as their frontline spinner. He warmed the benches throughout the season as he got to share the dressing room with quite a few greats.
Fabulous 2018-19 domestic season
Rahul Chahar who warmed the bench throughout the IPL in the 2018 season was absolutely brilliant in the Vijay Hazare Trophy later that year. He finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. Chahar played nine games in last year’s Vijay Hazare Trophy and picked up 20 wickets. He had an average of 17.55 while conceding 4.28 runs an over. Moreover, he picked up a wicket in a little over four overs in that competition.
In red-ball cricket, the young leg-spinner continued to weave his magic. He picked up 41 wickets in 10 games in the Ranji season last time. He averaged 24.90 and had a strike-rate of 41.4. The Rajasthan leggie then continued his form to pick up six wickets in as many games in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the end of the 2018-19 season.
IPL and India ‘A’ success
Rahul Chahar. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Rahul Chahar finally made his debut for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL earlier this year. He was the lead spinner and did really well. He picked up 13 wickets in as many games at an economy of 6.55. Moreover, the younger Chahar was excellent in the final as well. He had figures of 1/14 from four overs.
He followed this IPL with brilliant performances for India ‘A’. In the unofficial Test series against Sri Lanka, he took 14 wickets in two games at an average of 19.57 and strike-rate of 25.2. In the following series against West Indies, he picked up six wickets from three 50-over games.
After a series of impressive performances in domestic cricket for Rajasthan, Mumbai Indians and India ‘A’, Rahul Chahar finally got an India call-up. He was picked for the three-match T20I series against West Indies. After warming the benches in the first two games, the 20-year-old leggie made his international debut in the third and final T20I in Guyana.
The younger Chahar was taken for a few runs in his first couple of overs and Kieron Pollard got stuck into him. However, he came back pretty well in his third over. Bowling the 18th over, he was hit for a six off the first ball before he dismissed Carlos Braithwaite. In the end, he finished with figures of 1/28 from three overs.
Rahul Chahar’s idols: Warne and Tahir
Like a lot of budding leg-spinners, Rahul Chahar also idolises the Aussie great Shane Warne. However, the youngster revealed that he used to follow Warne before but now follows Imran Tahir. “When I was a kid, I would follow Warne. Now, I follow Tahir,” Chahar had said earlier this year, during the IPL.
He shared the dressing room with the South African leggie in 2017 when both of them were playing for Rising Pune Supergiant. In fact, he also admitted that Tahir has always been there for guidance. Chahar has his phone number and rings the South African spinner every time he has a problem.
Rahul Chahar’s love life
Rahul Chahar and his girlfriend. (Photo Source: Instagram)
Rahul Chahar may be only 20 years old but he has been dating his girlfriend Ishani for more than four years now. He has been pretty open about his relationship on social media. The youngster often posts pictures with Ishani. In fact, last year in October, he had posted a picture with her and captioned it, “It’s been four years Ishani. Long way to go.”
There are multiple pictures of the duo on social media, especially on the younger Chahar’s Instagram. She has been spotted in the IPL as well, cheering for Chahar and Mumbai Indians.
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