Lord Shardul Thakur’s World Dominance and Surprises

Shardul Thakur’s recent form has given India a lot to be happy about as they continue to search for an all-rounder.

From Gabba to the Oval Lord Shardul Thakur has placed some match-winning knocks, and is now a key member of the Indian team across formats. At the Gabba he made a counter-attacking fifty lower down the order. Over the course of his fifty, he had the audacity to hook Pat Cummins, the number one Test bowler, for six and repeated his stunts in England as well.

Shardul Thakur began his career in 2017, but due to the presence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami, along with Hardik Pandya as an all-rounder, opportunities were bleak. Thakur played when the others were rested, and struggled for a regular spot in the side. An injury in his first Test, after ten balls, disrupted his progress further, but Thakur’s comeback in 2020 propelled his career. Since his return, Thakur has looked undroppable and keeps surprising.

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His first surprise came at Canberra. With Steve Smith raging rampant in the first two ODIs, scoring 60 ball hundreds in both games, Thakur managed to strangle him down the leg-side in his first game on tour. With a lot of injuries in the Indian camp, Shardul Thakur made a Test comeback at the Gabba. With an experience of 10 balls, Shardul Thakur was a senior member of the bowling attack, which consisted of two debutants, and his comeback was strong.

He showed lots of aggression, and played a key role through the Test. His 68 in the first innings saved India, and kept them in the game, and the innings proved Thakur’s ability as an all-rounder. He followed it up with a four wicket haul in the second innings to set-up the chase.

With an all-round performance as good as his, Thakur became a regular member in the white-ball sides, taking key wickets at crucial intervals. He was not selected in the WTC Finals, but the absence of his all-round ability seemed to be missed as India used him as a crucial member in England, where Thakur again played some key roles. Due to injury he played in only two Tests, but both saw Thakur provide an impact.

Over the last year Shardul Thakur has come up with some defying performances and India can only hope for him to continue his good efforts.

At Nottingham, Thakur took the wicket of Joe Root, who was in top form, and the wicket triggered a collapse. He took four wickets in the match, which ended in a draw. At the Oval, India was coming into the Test on the back of a performance which saw them get dismissed for a meager 78. India looked like they’ll collapse in a similar manner at the Oval. Shardul Thakur though, back from injury, helped India maintain some face, as he came up with a counter-attacking knock. He made 57 off just 36 balls, with three sixers, and took India to 191.

In England’s first innings he took Ollie Pope’s wicket as well, preventing them from running away, and then came up with another counter-attacking 60 in the second innings to set a strong target. With 368 to defend, Thakur came in and played the role of partnership breaker again. He took Rory Burn’s wicket when he was on 50, and dismissed Joe Root, England’s best batter in the series. While Thakur didn’t win the man of the match award, he was lauded for his game-changing role.

His performance in England propelled his stocks, and Shardul Thakur seemed a regular across formats, especially while playing overseas. Thakur took part in all three Tests in South Africa, and his seven-for in the second Test gave another glimpse of the Lord’s dominance in the Indian team. He followed a strong Test series with a good performance in the one-day series. India were poor throughout the one-day series, but Shardul Thakur’s lower-order runs atleast gave the side something to look at and laugh about.

In the last year, Thakur has taken strong wickets, and made crucial runs lower down the order. With the IPL auction coming up he seems like a player who could fetch a lot of money. He will be highly demanded going by his recent form. Looking at Thakur’s recent run of form It is safe to say that the Indian team is living in his World, as Thakur silently makes crucial inroads and differences.