Deepak Chahar 'couldn't imagine' playing for any IPL franchise apart from CSK

After becoming most expensive Indian bowler at an IPL auction, he says: 'In 2018, I had met Srinivasan sir, and he said, 'you will play in yellow always''

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
Deepak Chahar celebrates the wicket of Shubman Gill with MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2021 final, Dubai, October 15, 2021

Deepak Chahar celebrates a wicket with MS Dhoni  •  BCCI

One day after Deepak Chahar was bought by Chennai Super Kings for INR 14 crore (USD 1.8m approx.), making him the highest-paid Indian bowler at an IPL auction, he has said that he always knew he would return to the four-time champions under MS Dhoni.
He told Star Sports on Sunday that in 2018, franchise owner N Srinivasan had told him that he would have a long association with the franchise, and since then, Chahar said, he had never broached the topic of retention or auction plans with the team.
He also said that he "could not imagine" playing for any other franchise. "I've never spoken about all this to Mahi bhai [captain MS Dhoni] or CSK management," Chahar said. "In 2018, I had met Srinivasan sir, and he has said, 'you will play in yellow always'. So I took his word that day and since then I have never spoken about retention. I knew CSK would bid [for me].
"We [India's T20I squad] were travelling from Ahmedabad to Kolkata, and the whole team was watching the auction. Everyone was saying kitna ho gaya (what's the bid price?) and all that.
"I wanted to play for CSK because I haven't imagined myself playing in other colour than yellow. At one point, I thought it [the bid price] was too much. As a CSK player, I also want to build a good team. So after they spent 13 crore, I actually wanted the bidding to stop so I can go to CSK quickly and then we can buy some other players [with the money saved].
Chahar will represent the Super Kings for a fifth season in a row, having been bought by the franchise before IPL 2018 for INR 80 lakh. Before that, he had worked with some of the Super Kings personnel at the Rising Pune Supergiant franchise, where he played between 2016 and 2017 alongside Dhoni and current Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming as the Super Kings sat out their suspension in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal of 2013.
Chahar also said that despite batting rather low in the Super Kings line-up in previous seasons, he hopes to score more runs in the upcoming IPL edition. Over the last 12 months, he has shown his usefulness with the bat for the Indian ODI side, with his unbeaten 69 in Colombo taking India over the line, a 54 against South Africa last month to almost rescue the team, and an important 38 against West Indies in Ahmedabad last week.
However, Chahar does have one regret, and that is not having his cousin Rahul Chahar in the same franchise as him. The duo did share the dressing room at Pune, but never played together.
"In Pune, I played first game, he played second, I played third, and he played fourth, but we never played together. I was thinking this auction we might play together, but may be some other time. I'll ask Rahul to come from Punjab for next year (laughs)."

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx