Shardul Thakur to ‘step up’ in Nidahas Trophy 2018 in Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah’s absence

  • Shardul Thakur is Team India new entrant pacer, featuring in Nidahas Trophy 2018
  • The 26-year-old slinger said he was looking to step up his performance as veterans Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were rested for the T20I tri-nation series
  • Thakur stated that he had been working on his knuckle ball delivery since almost 2 years

Team India new entrant Shardul Thakur is a skilled pacer and a mature cricketer, as the 26-year-old is well aware of how rare are the opportunities to feature in a limited-overs bowling line-up. Thakur has been given a shot in Nidahas Trophy 2018, as Indian veterans Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were rested for the T20I tri-nation series. And Thakur said, that he was ready to “step up” in the absence of star pacers, as it is what he has always done in domestic cricket as well.

Shardul Thakur was instrumental in India’s win over Sri Lanka in the last Nidahas Trophy 2018 encounter

Shardul Thakur claimed four wickets and restricted Sri Lanka to a moderate score of 152, when it seemed that the islanders would again set up a huge total for the Men in Blue, just as they had done in India-Sri Lanka’s first encounter of Nidahas Trophy 2018. And deservingly, Thakur was awarded the man-of-the-match award after his team’s six-wicket win in the third round robin match of the Nidahas Trophy 2018.

Thakur taking the absence of veterans as a challenge for himself

Shardul Thakur was speaking with to the media when he was asked about his take on being a back-up pacer. The Mumbai slinger answered and said, as reported by the PTI,

“I have told one thing before: I love challenges. I am taking it as a challenge.”

“If other senior bowlers are missing from the team, then I have to step up. I have done this previously for other teams that I have played for. I have come in place of Zaheer Khan, Dhawal Kulkarni and Ajit Agarkar while playing for Mumbai (in Ranji Trophy). I had to step up in that role. When senior bowlers are rested, I have to step up and fill that role to lead the pace attack.”

On the ‘knuckle ball’

The ‘knuckle ball’ is a variation of pace bowling (usually a slower delivery) which is being used as a variation by a lot of Indian bowlers currently, including Team India’s pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However, looking back, it was the former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who had first started bowling knuckle balls. Shardul Thakur, on the other hand, stated that he had learnt the art all by his own. He said,

“[Zaheer] did it actually, but I didn’t watch much of his videos. I always knew what the grip was, and then I learned it on my own. I have been practising it for a long time. It didn’t come easily. Whenever I found time to play with white ball while playing domestic cricket, I used to try knuckle ball. Probably for two years, I have been practising it now.”

READ: 5 Indian players who scored most runs in a single season of domestic cricket.

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