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Back injury puts further question mark over Deepak Chahar's IPL return

Pace-bowling allrounder was already recovering from quadricep tear picked against West Indies in February

Nagraj Gollapudi
Deepak Chahar has been at the NCA for more than a month now  •  BCCI

Deepak Chahar has been at the NCA for more than a month now  •  BCCI

Deepak Chahar's potential return to IPL remains doubtful after the India and Chennai Super Kings strike bowler suffered a back injury during his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. The gravity of the injury remains to be ascertained, as it is learned that Super Kings are yet to get a formal report from BCCI.
Chahar has been at the NCA for more than a month now, recovering from the quadricep tear he picked during India's T20I series against West Indies in February. While the initial assessment by the NCA physios projected Chahar was set to miss major chunk of the IPL, the pace-bowling allrounder's quick recovery kept Super Kings optimistic of a return in late April.
However, the back injury is likely to further endanger Chahar's return to the IPL, considering the BCCI and the Indian team management would want him to be in peak shape as India prepare for the T20 World Cup due to begin in October.
A swing bowler with the new ball as well as an able lower-order hitter, Chahar's absence has already hurt the balance of Super Kings' side so far this season. They have lost all four matches to begin with, most crucially missing him with the ball in the powerplay, where they have managed just two wickets at an economy rate of 8.62 in 24 overs across the four games, and have not yet been able to find an ideal replacement for him.
However, Chahar's record for Super Kings in the same phase reads a lot better: he has an economy rate of 7.61 with 42 wickets in 58 innings for them during the first six overs with the ball.
Super Kings shelled out INR 14 crore (approx. US $1.84 million) for Chahar at the IPL 2022 auction, but now seem to struggle in his absence. Although the likes of Mukesh Choudhary, Tushar Deshpande, Adam Milne and Chris Jordan have been used with the new ball, none of them has been able to provide them with the required control in the early stages of the match.
Among still other options, Super Kings have KM Asif and Rajvardhan Hangarkekar who can take the new ball for them in the matches to come.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo