Former India opener Wasim Jaffer reckons that all-rounder Shardul Thakur is probably the No. 1 choice with regard to the third seamer in ODIs under current circumstances. He added that Deepak Chahar will also come back into the fray once he returns from injury.
Thakur was the Player of the Match for his all-round exploits in the third ODI against New Zealand in Indore on Tuesday, January 24. He contributed a crucial 25 off 17 before claiming 3/45 with his medium pace. The Men in Blue hammered New Zealand by 90 runs to complete a 3-0 clean sweep of the Kiwis.
In a post-match discussion, Jaffer opened up on the significance of Thakur’s presence in the Indian ODI squad. Asked if the 31-year-old is the front-runner for being the team’s third seamer on a consistent basis, the former opener told ESPNcricinfo:
“At present, I feel he is the guy because Deepak Chahar is not playing any cricket. We don’t know his fitness level. But when he comes back into form, he is probably one of those contenders as well. He can bowl with the new ball and bat at No. 8. Shardul Thakur is probably the No. 1 choice and then there is Deepak Chahar.”
Hailing Thakur, Jaffer added that the all-rounder is a hard trier and not someone who gives up easily. The 44-year-old elaborated:
“Shardul Thakur has got that ability (to pick key wickets). He’s one of those guys who keeps on trying. He’s got lot of variation in his bowling. He uses that short ball really well. He’s got that knuckle ball and can throw in that wide half volley. He has that habit of picking up big wickets. It doesn’t surprise me. He’s a trier and has a big heart.”
Thakur dismissed Daryl Mitchell (24) and Tom Latham (0) off consecutive deliveries before adding the scalp of Glenn Phillips (five). Defending a huge total of 385, India bowled out New Zealand for 295.
“He is ideal for that No. 8 position” - Jaffer on Thakur’s batting ability
Shifting focus to Thakur’s batting ability, Jaffer described him as an ideal No. 8. He opined that his 25 in Indore was extremely crucial in the contest of the game. The former opener commented:
“No.8 position is vital. He (Thakur) contributed really well today, getting that quick-fire 25. Had he not been there, India wouldn’t have reached 380 plus. Those 30-40 runs matter a lot. He is ideal for that No. 8 position and third seamer.”
Thakur claimed six scalps in the three-match ODI series against New Zealand and was the joint-leading wicket-taker with Kuldeep Yadav.