Colombo : Shardul Thakur knows that opportunities in a settled limited overs line-up won’t come easily and that’s the reason he is ready to “step up” in an unenvious role of India’s stop-gap third seamer in absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
Thakur’s four wicket haul was instrumental in India restricting Sri Lanka to a moderate 152 and he deservingly got the man-of-the-match award after his team’s six-wicket win in the third round robin match of the Nidahas T20 Tri Series.
Asked about the challenge of being a back-up pacer, the Mumbai speedster replied:”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,” Thakur exuded a lot of confidence.
The ‘knuckle ball’ (a variation of slower delivery) is being used as a variation by a lot of Indian bowlers currently including pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However it was Zaheer, who had first started but Thakur insisted that he had learnt it all by his own.
“[Zaheer] did it actually, but I didn’t watch much of his videos,” Thakur said. “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.”