Moving from Kings XI Punjab to Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017 changed my career: Shardul Thakur
What's the story?
Indian fast bowler Shardul Thakur has revealed that his move to Rising Pune Supergiant ahead of IPL 2017 provided him with an important break in his career. The right-arm pacer mentioned that he had not received many opportunities in white-ball cricket prior to IPL 2017 and playing for the Pune franchise (and Chennai Super Kings later on) helped him a lot in improving his game.
Shardul Thakur came into the limelight due to his performances for Mumbai at the domestic level. However, he could not make an impact in the IPL until 2017. He had played only one match prior to making his debut for Rising Pune Supergiant.
The Palghar-born player ended that season with 11 wickets in 12 games. He made his ODI debut later that year and then playing for Chennai in the next two seasons, Thakur scalped 24 wickets in 23 matches. Currently, he is on the verge of cementing his place in the Indian limited-overs teams.
The heart of the matter
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“In 2017 IPL, when I was transferred from Kings XI to RPS, that was an important break for me. Before that I hadn’t played much with the white ball. When in the 2018 auction I went to CSK, I was very happy because we had the same support staff, Dhoni bhai was also around. I knew how our coach Stephen Fleming works, how Mahi bhai works. When you establish a rapport, it gets easier for the player."
Praising the duo of MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming, he continued:
“Whenever I play, both give me a free hand. They come and ask what my plan is for the opponent.‘What are you thinking? How are you going to tackle the batsmen?’ They just helped me with better answers. If you are thinking about yorkers, they will talk it out: whether to bowl stump yorkers or wide yorkers. They give you that clarity.”
He also talked about his IPL teammate Deepak Chahar, who has made it to the Indian team through the same route. When asked if both the players are fighting for the same spot in the Indian side, Thakur replied:
“I don’t think we are fighting for the same spot. Don’t think we are similar bowlers. We have different sets of skills too. I don’t believe I am fighting for the same spot with anyone for that matter. If you do well, you are going to play. If he does well, he is going to play. At the end of the day, we are playing for the country."
The former Kings XI Punjab player also discussed his current form and added:
“I feel the ball is coming out of my hand really well. Whatever matches I play in, this is my mantra: ‘bowl hard, bowl fast’. You have to get ahead of the opponents, what they are thinking or not thinking and in what frame of mind the batsman has come out to bat.”
Looking forward to the approaching three-match ODI series against Australia, he stated that the strong opponents will test their skills and he is looking at it as an opportunity.
“It is an ideal opportunity for all of us to show our A game because the stronger the opponent, the more you will get tested. I look at it as an opportunity. If they are getting tougher, how do we put our A game on the park? How do you bail out your team from a tough situation?”
Finally, he talked about his cameo with the bat in the final ODI against West Indies. Reflecting his views on his six-ball 17, Thakur said:
“Personally, for me it was a confidence booster. The satisfaction you get from performing under pressure, you don’t get it every day.”
Shardul Thakur will try to impress the selectors in the upcoming limited-overs matches and thereby would look to cement his place in the Indian team.