Tour of South Africa: Deepak Chahar stays back to be with ailing father

Seam bowler a doubtful starter for T20Is as men in blue leave Indian shores for South Africa

Deepak Chahar with his father (photo: @deepak_chahar9/X)
Deepak Chahar with his father (photo: @deepak_chahar9/X)

NH Sports Bureau

Fresh from a 4-1 triumph in their T20I series against Australia, the men in blue left Indian shores on Wednesday from Bengaluru for a full series of three T20Is, as many ODIs, and followed by two Tests against South Africa. There is, however, a big question mark on the availability of white ball specialist Deepak Chahar, who skipped the final game against the Aussies owing to his father’s sudden illness. 

Chahar, who recorded the best-ever haul for a bowler in T20Is (6/7 against Bangladesh in 2019) before slipping to third on the list, has told a news channel that he would not be able to accompany the team on schedule and could join the squad later if his father’s condition improved a little. Lokesh Singh Chahar, Deepak’s father, reportedly suffered a cerebral stroke while attending a family wedding in Aligarh.

Speaking to Sports Tak, the ace seamer said: ‘’We got him to the hospital on time. Otherwise, it could have been dangerous. His condition is better at the moment. People were asking why I didn’t play the final T20I against Australia. For me, my father is very important. He made me the player I am. I cannot leave him in this condition and couldn’t go anywhere.’’

The series being a tightly scheduled one, and with the squad boasting three more pacers in Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh and Mukesh Kumar, it’s likely that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will name a replacement in case Chahar fails to make the trip.

Meanwhile, members of the Suryakumar Yadav-led squad looked a happy bunch on their Instagram handle from the flight to South Africa. Rinku Singh, Arshdeep Singh and Kuldeep Yadav shared a joint post on Instagram captioning the picture, “En route SA.” Tilak Varma, paceman Mohammed Siraj  and fielding coach T Dilip were also seen in the picture. 

The T20 matches are scheduled from 10-14 December. The ODIs will begin on 17 December and conclude on 21 December. The first Test is slated for Boxing Day (26 December), while the second will begin in the new year from 3 January. 

Earlier, while announcing the squads for the series against the Proteas, the BCCI said regular skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had requested that they be rested from the white-ball leg of the series. 

Squad for T20Is: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (C), Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (VC), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Chahar 

 T20I schedule 

1st T20I: 10 December 2023, Sunday, Durban 

2nd T20I: 12 December 2023, Tuesday, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) 

3rd T20I: 14 December 2023, Thursday, Johannesburg

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