New Delhi: From being an integral part of the Indian U-19 team to missing out on a place in the squad for this year’s ICC World Cup, Rahul Chahar has seen fortunes flip just like T20 thrillers in the Indian Premier League. But it is his will and determination that has seen him rise from the ashes and pass every test with flying colours. Coming back from a setback of not playing in the World Cup isn’t easy as an 18-year-old, but Rahul used that very setback to perform and get picked by Mumbai Indians in this year’s auction.
While everyone talks about him being lucky for a franchise as successful as Mumbai Indians to pick him — for Rs 1.9 crore — Rahul’s father Desh Raj Chahar reveals that Rahul proved himself in the trial games and earned his place in the MI outfit, something that the family is very proud of.
Speaking to CricketNext, Desh Raj said that the trials in Mumbai was just days after Rahul had been ignored for the U-19 World Cup team and while the family didn’t wish to force him to go ahead and play in the trial matches, Rahul insisted that he wanted to go out and perform and not sit and think about the lost opportunity.
“It isn’t easy when you even shoot for the promos with the rest of the squad and then you are told that you missed the cut. In fact, initially I thought he is playing a prank. But I soon realised that he was being honest. But even before he could overcome this situation, the trials were on in Mumbai and he had to go and play. While we did wish that he would show fighting spirit and go there, we did not want to force him. But to everyone’s surprise, he showed great character and went ahead to play. We are very proud that he is now part of a franchise like Mumbai Indians. It is his efforts that have been rewarded,” the father said.
Interestingly, Rahul Dravid’s phone call also helped his son as far as Desh Raj is concerned. “Rahul Sir called him after he wasn’t picked in the team and personally told him that these little hurdles in life don’t mean anything in the long run and that it was an opportunity for Rahul to come back stronger. I feel that was important because it showed that even though he missed out, Dravid had faith in his abilities. At such a young age, these things matter,” he said.
For Rahul, MS Dhoni has been a guiding force and the leg-spinner feels he was lucky to be picked by Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. “Dhoni Sir is an amazing human being. For a man of his stature, it wouldn’t have meant much if he didn’t speak to Rahul. But whatever stories Rahul has told me, Dhoni Sir was always very approachable and kept sharing little tricks of the trade from time to time,” he quipped.
While his uncle — Chennai Super Kings paceman Deepak Chahar’s father — is his coach, Rahul’s off-field activities have been closely monitored by the father. “His uncle is his coach, but I ensured that I look after his daily habits like eating, sleeping etc. Staying fit as an athlete is very important and that is where I would guide him. Also, I would take him for his games and then keep a close look to discuss the finer details with my brother and Rahul. I have always wished to see him play for the country and hopefully he will fulfil that dream soon,” he said.
At 18, Rahul has already got a taste of life in the fast lane in the Mumbai Indians dug-out and the talented youngster will look to make the most of the opportunities he gets to fulfill the dream of his father and wear the national cap.