Anderson said something to Bumrah which he shouldn’t have: Thakur

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16 Sep 2021 | 06:57 AM
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Anderson said something to Bumrah which he shouldn’t have: Thakur

The 29-year-old from Mumbai also spoke about his contributions with the bat in England and Australia

Shardul Thakur is steadily becoming India's all-format seamer. The 29-year-old from Mumbai has only featured in four Tests so far but has already made a couple of match-winning contributions. The lower-order batter made 67 crucial runs in the first innings of the Brisbane Test and claimed seven wickets in the game to help India pull off a historic win at the Gabba. He didn't play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand but was impressive in the recently concluded England series.

Thakur picked up four wickets in the opening Test against England but had to miss the next two games because of a niggle. He played the fourth Test at the Oval and helped India take a 2-1 lead in the series. Thakur smashed half-centuries in both innings and also took three wickets. In the first innings, the right-hander reached his half-century off just 31 balls and set a new record for the fastest Test fifty in England.

"After Australia’s tour, I was confident that I will do well in England too. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play in the World Test Championship (against New Zealand), but I had been preparing for playing against England since then. I played the first Test in Trent Bridge, did well with the ball but got out early while batting. It can happen to anyone. I was practicing in the nets and putting in the effort with both batting and bowling. Then I had niggle and knew I won’t be playing next game. Overall though it was a good tour for me," Thakur told the Indian Express.

Talking about his batting, Thakur said: "When I injured my ankle two years ago, it was decided that I need to take my batting seriously. I had the ability in me and going ahead I wanted to contribute in the lower order. I told myself, kuch bhi ho jaye, batting mein acha karna he padega. In the past, there were opportunities which came with the bat too but somehow, I couldn’t make an impact. I told myself ‘aisa nahi chalega’.

"Lower order-batsman contributing always helps, and there have been many instances where 40-50 runs make a huge difference. When I made my comeback in the Indian team, I practiced with our throw-down specialists Raghu and Nuwan – they are very quick. Initially, I wasn’t able to play them. I tried to improve my footwork when I faced them and slowly-slowly my batting improved. The more I played them the more I got adjusted to the pace. Whatever runs I have scored so far, there has been a process that I have followed, it’s not a coincidence or stroke of luck.

“There have been people from the Indian team management, Virat, Rohit, who kept on motivating me. They all said that whenever I bat, I should think the way batsman think. Once I was in Mahi bhai’s (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) room and holding his bat. He told me that my batting grip is too high and I need to hold it lower to get better control over the shot. Now I hold my bat there and it helps.”

India were 117/6 in the first innings when Thakur walked out to bat in the fourth Test. 10 runs later, the visitors also lost Rishabh Pant and that's when Thakur took over the command and smoked seven fours and three sixes in his 36-ball 57. India managed to get to 191 in the first innings and ended up winning the game by 157 runs.

"When I went out to bat early, I knew there was a tricky situation. I look at the scoreboard and try to read match situation. I try to read the fielders kept for me. If the situation demands that I need to stick there, I will try to do that. However, in first innings, when I scored a half-century, I wasn’t playing my strokes as long as Rishabh Pant was there with me. I was trying to tap and take singles here and there. Once Rishabh got out, I told myself that runs are important. I didn’t know how much we will survive. I felt that attacking is the best option and somewhere there was a feeling that I was connecting well. So I just went by with it.

"I know I can bat, it’s just matter of application. It all depends on how I deliver between those 22 yards. I pick the spots where I can score and where I can’t. After those runs in Brisbane, it was obvious that there has been an impact in the dressing room. At the same time, my confidence has grown. Now, I get to bat regularly in the nets, which shows the team management trusts me. They have the confidence that whenever I play, I will contribute with the bat as well. If anyone felt my innings in Brisbane was a fluke, then best wishes to them.

“When I returned to dressing room, everyone was happy, and that environment made me felt that I did something good for the team. Ajinkya (Rahane) came rushing and said that he really enjoyed my show. Rohit Sharma, whom I have known for a long time, cursed jokingly, and said I should have scored more.”

Thakur also spoke about the Jasprit Bumrah-James Anderson incident. The Indian paceman targetted Anderson with bouncers in the second and fourth Test and Thakur said there was nothing wrong about it. "We were trying to attack Anderson. Something had happened during the Lord’s Test and it was carried to The Oval. I was later told that Anderson said something to Bumrah which he shouldn’t have, I was told they (England team) abused Bumrah. Those words cannot be said in public, so everyone got charged up after this.

"When we go overseas, our tailenders also face bouncers. In Australia, Natrajan was bowled bouncers by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins despite them knowing that this guy hasn’t batted much even in First-Class cricket. So now when our opponents’ tailender come to bat then why can’t we bowl bouncers at him? Why shouldn’t we bowl bodyline? We are not playing to please anyone. We are playing there to win."

The fifth and final Test was cancelled after physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19 and as a result, many players were reluctant to take part in the Manchester Test. "We were worried about what will happen, who will be infected since Parmar had treated everyone. We didn’t know how things would go ahead because tracking this infection is next to impossible. The next four-five days were vulnerable for us because there was fear that it could happen to me or it could happen to anyone. Everyone was worried about their and their family’s health."

Lastly, talking about his new nickname ‘Lord Thakur’, the 29-year-old said: "These memes are all over social media. I enjoy it. It shows how much love I’m getting from all quarters. I don’t mind such names. Somewhere, I feel I haven’t achieved anything yet, and I don’t want to be in such a position where I feel to be satisfied. I have seen days where the same social media has cursed my presence in the team. For me, what matters is down the line, I want people to remember me as the guy who, whenever he played, made an impact in the game and we won it."

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