Cricket is akin to religion in India. Cricket evokes immense passion amongst Indians. With over a 1.3 billion people, India has the huge pool of a cricketing talent. Icons such as Tendulkar, Kohli and Dhoni have attained legendary status through their on-field exploits. But like any sport, new talent is vital for the national team’s success as per cricket breaking news. Fresh players need to keep stepping up to carry forward the team’s glory. This is where players like Shardul Thakur become crucially important.
Background and Early Career
Shardul Thakur hails from Palghar, a small nondescript town near Mumbai. Unlike metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore etc. that have a strong cricketing culture and infrastructure, Palghar did not offer much support for an aspiring cricketer. There were no professional cricket academies or facilities that could nourish Thakur’s skills. Despite these limitations, Thakur was driven by his sheer passion for the game.
He did not let the lack of coaching or facilities dampen his spirits and through hard work and perseverance kept improving his game. Thakur slowly made his way up the ranks – first representing Mumbai in age group cricket, then the senior Mumbai Ranji trophy side in 2013. He now had a stage on which to demonstrate his abilities to a larger audience.
Thakur is skilled at both batting and bowling. He bats right-handed, coming in to bat in the middle order. As a bowler, he relies on medium pace to chip in with crucial wickets. After delivering consistent performances for Mumbai in first-class cricket for a few seasons, he finally got the India call-up in 2016, being selected for the T20 and ODI squads. This was a just reward for his domestic performances.
Shardul Thakur is a genuinely skilled all-rounder which makes him a prized asset for the Indian team. With the bat, he is not just a slogger who swings his bat aimlessly like many lower order batsmen. Thakur has sound technique and temperament that enables him to play substantial innings and build partnerships. He has a solid defensive game and can rotate the strike by finding gaps. He displayed his batting abilities by scoring two half centuries in test cricket against quality bowling attacks. Building partnerships requires skills and composure, which Thakur evidently possesses.
As a bowler too, Thakur relies more on swing, seam movement and clever variations rather than just speed and bounce. He out-thinks batsmen through skillful bowling rather than blasting them out through pace. His bowling talents were evident when he consistently took wickets against the likes of Steve Smith and Joe Root. Thakur swings the ball both ways to trouble batsmen and mixes up his pace skillfully. With both bat and ball, he outpunched above his weight and out-thought reputed opponents.
These well-rounded abilities make Thakur an invaluable player, providing crucial balance to the team. He allows the team management the luxury of playing an extra batsman or bowler based on conditions, as Thakur can contribute significantly with both aspects. His skill-set works across different formats – tests, ODIs and T20s. On flat subcontinent pitches, his bowling provides breakthroughs while his batting beefs up the lower order.
In addition to his skillset, Shardul Thakur possesses remarkable mental strength and resilience. Cricket is a high pressure sport and requires great determination to overcome challenges. Despite setbacks early in his career like injuries and inconsistent selection, Thakur never lost heart. He demonstrates a lion-hearted attitude of keeping the focus on his game and not getting bogged down by circumstances.
His mental tenacity was evident during India’s historic test series win in Australia in 2021. He out-batted and out-bowled Australia’s best on their home turf during pressure situations. Dismissing Steve Smith and batting confidently against the likes of Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc required tremendous self-belief. Thakur does not get overwhelmed by reputations and backs his abilities against the best in the business.
He has the confidence and poise to take on any challenge and situation. This was clear from how he held his nerve while batting in the Brisbane test to take India over the line. Thakur’s body language, intensity and focus never wavered irrespective of match scenarios. He has the ability to play his natural game and not get rattled. For a player relatively new to international cricket, his composure under pressure is remarkable.
At 30 years of age, Shardul Thakur’s best cricketing years are still ahead of him. He is entering the prime phase where experience and skills peak for cricketers. Thakur seems poised to play a pivotal role for India over the next 5 years, especially in test cricket where his all-round abilities are extremely valuable. He has a complete skill set along with the temperament to succeed. If Thakur can maintain consistency in performances and remain injury-free, he can become a potent match-winning asset for India. With the experience gained so far along with his current form and confidence, the sky is the limit for Thakur.
He can form a fearsome pace bowling unit with the likes of Bumrah, Shami and Siraj. As a quartet, they can demolish any batting line-up. Thakur would play the role of providing balance to the attack through his swing and variations. With the bat, he is capable of bolstering the lower order and either reviving the team from collapses or pushing them to big totals. Thakur has proven his mettle internationally over the last 2 years. He now needs to build on that foundation. If he realizes his immense potential, there is no doubt Thakur can become India’s equivalent of a Ben Stokes – a true all-round match-winner. Thakur certainly seems to have a very bright future ahead of him and Indian cricket can benefit tremendously from his spirited and skillful performances.
Shardul Thakur is a rising star in Indian cricket who has forced his way into reckoning through impressive all-round performances. His skills, mental strength and attitude make him a complete package with immense potential. If Thakur builds on his immense potential and continues delivering impactful all-round performances, he could become a crucial match-winner for India. His spirited and skillful play can help propel Indian cricket to new heights of success. Given his abilities and attitude, the future looks bright for this rising Mumbai star.