Shardul Thakur was the toast of India’s win at Brisbane having replaced Jasprit Bumrah in the team. It was like his second debut, given that 3 years back, he could bowl only 10 balls against West Indies, before hobbling off with an injury.
However, this time, he made the opportunity count and picked 7 wickets in the Gabba Test and made a brilliant 67, adding all-important 123-runs with debutant Washington Sundar (62), to help narrow Australia’s first-innings lead to just 33 runs.
Hailing from a small place called Mahim in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, Shardul fancies himself as a bowling all-rounder.
"Yes, I can be called a bowling all-rounder, I have that ability to bat and even in the future, whenever I get my opportunity to bat, I am going to contribute useful runs to the team's total," Thakur told PTI.
Thakur ended up with four wickets in the first innings in Brisbane but took a catch to ensure his teammate Mohammed Siraj completed his five-wicket haul.
"No, I don't regret missing a fifer in the second innings. I mean, it would have been okay if I had taken a fifer but I am really happy for Siraj and I really wished that he should get five wickets, because he was going through a hard time," he said.
"This was an emotional series for him. He (Siraj) lost his father recently and he mentioned that how his father wanted him to play cricket. Even though he is not present here in this world, he is watching him from the heavens and he would have been really happy seeing him taking five wickets. So, when I took that catch, I was really, really (happy). I was like, thank god Siraj got five wickets," said Thakur about Siraj, who had lost his father before the Test series, but stayed back to help the team.
“It is not easy to play against Australia in Brisbane, everyone knows their record in Brisbane, they hadn't lost a Test match (since) 1988 until this one when we beat them. So, to have performed in this game taking seven wickets and also scoring a fifty and being able to majorly contribute in the team's victory, it really makes me happy,” said 29-year-old Thakur.
Talking about coming to bat in at 186/6, Thakur said, “I think when I went to bat (in the first innings), my role was pretty clear. We had our chips down, we were 186/6 and the simple plan at that point of time, you know the situation in front of us was, me and Washington (Sundar) batting as much time as possible.”
“It was really important for us to hang in there, bat for half an hour, another half an hour, make that one and half, two, and you know to just kill the time in there, take the game, that innings as deep as possible," he recalled.
"We weren't looking at the scoreboard at all. Yes, we discussed about the bowlers a lot like what kind of deliveries is Pat Cummins going to bowl or Josh Hazlewood or Mitchell Starc for that matter. And each time if someone lost focus or if we felt that our partner is trying to play too many shots, then we would just communicate then and there,” Thakur signed off.