Shardul Thakur: 10 things you need to know about him
- Meet Indian Test team's latest fast bowler - Shardul Thakur, who has been picked in the Indian squad for the tour of West Indies.
When India’s Test squad for the tour to the Caribbean was announced, one name grabbed everyone by surprise. Shardul Thakur, a highly rated bowler in first-class cricket, found himself joining the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav as part of the pace bowling unit.
The selection committee’s decision to infuse fresh blood into the seam attack is a step in the right direction as aggressive skipper Virat Kohli will be eager to continue to build a strong Test team that can compete in different conditions across the globe.
Let us take a look at the most pertinent facts about the upcoming pacer who has been included to tackle West Indies during the 4-match series.
1) Shardul Narendra Thakur was born in Maharashtra’s Palghar district on October 16, 1991. Interestingly, the right-armer opted to represent Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy instead of Maharashtra and made his debut during the 2012-13 season under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma.
2) The 24-year old is a hit the deck type of bowler and possesses a lethal out-swinger. His attacking instinct and no holds barred approach will augur well for the Indian team when they encounter flat pitches.
3) Thakur did not have an easy beginning as his early years were spent catching the first train to Mumbai which was almost 90 kms from Palghar along with his heavy kit bag. However, he thrived in such hardships which only strengthened his resolve and commitment to the sport.
4) After a rather disappointing inaugural season in which he picked up only 4 wickets from as many matches at an average of 82, Thakur was dropped midway. But, he made a comeback in the semi-finals and delivered a telling performance. Eventually, his team won the Ranji Trophy by routing Saurashtra in the final.
5) During the off-season, some experienced Mumbai cricketers advised him to drop weight and improve his upper body strength. Subsequently, Thakur underwent a rigorous fitness regime and came back stronger. His hard work paid off in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy and he scalped 27 wickets from six matches at an average of 26.25 which also included a maiden five-wicket haul.
6) Thakur’s efforts caught the eye of IPL talent scouts and subsequently was picked up by Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 auction for INR 20 Lakhs. But, he could not get a match in that edition as his settled franchise reached the finals for the first time.
7) The bustling pacer had a sensational 2014-15 Ranji Trophy which raised hopes of an Indian call-up. Bowling with pace and venom, Thakur ended the tournament as the joint highest wicket-taker alongside Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar. His penchant for bowling long spells enabled him to grab 5 five wicket hauls.
8) Also a useful lower-order batsman, he finally made his IPL debut against the Delhi Daredevils on a hard Kotla surface. Benched for the rest of the season, Thakur showed his class for the Board President's XI against the touring South Africans later that year when he dismissed both Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla.
9) Maintaining his consistency, the fast bowler delivered a seething spell in the finals of the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy which gave Mumbai a record 41st title. His 5-26 demolished Saurashtra’s batting lineup and a sharp delivery to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara was hailed by commentators as the best of the competition.
10) Despite rich form, Shardul was released from the Kings XI Punjab squad for the 2016 IPL. Expressing his disappointment on Twitter, he returned to club cricket in Mumbai. With a hectic season in store for the Indians on spin-friendly pitches, Thakur faces a tough task to force his way into the playing eleven. But knowing his unflinching attitude, he is bound to make a strong case for it.