Ahead of India’s much-anticipated rescheduled fifth Test against England starting in Edgbaston from Friday, pace all-rounder Shardul Thakur spoke about his role in the set-up for the longest format of the game, saying that if he bowls well when the main bowlers are given a break, then it gives him a chance to create an impact in the match.
In India’s memorable 157-run win over England at The Oval last year to take a 2-1 lead in the series, Thakur had a telling impact in all four innings of the match. In the first innings, he blasted a 36-ball 57 to take India from 127/7 to 191. When England came out to bat, Thakur took out a determined Ollie Pope though the hosts’ had a big lead.
In India’s second innings with the bat, Thakur’s aggressive batting was him score a crucial 72-ball 60 as India set a target of 368 for England. On the final day of the match, Thakur turned the wheel in India’s way when he took out opener Rory Burns with a peach of a ball and then castled Joe Root to set the tone for a memorable Indian victory.
“The pace bowling attack we have at the moment, everyone is doing well including Shami, Bumrah, Umesh whenever he gets a game, Ishant was there. Usually, they start with the new ball and many a times, it has happened that they take 2-3 wickets in the first spell, so I get chance to bowl later.”
“The opportunity gets created when there is a partnership happening or when the main bowlers need rest, then the use of third or fourth bowler is more. That moment gives me the opportunity to take out wickets and do something for the team. To bowl in that situation, I am relishing that as if I deliver with a good performance, then it creates an impact in the match,” said Thakur in a video posted by BCCI on their social media accounts.
Asked about his twin fifties at The Oval, Thakur recalled, “It was an important innings. England could have had got a big lead but it was cut down. Because of the lead being cut down, we were able to make a comeback in third and fourth innings.”
“When you play an innings like this, everyone in the team is swarmed by an energy that we have got a good chance to make a comeback in the match. When you enter the field to bowl, those efforts with the bat reflect in your bowling and fielding.”
Thakur, who is in contention to play the Edgbaston Test due to his all-round skills, relishes playing in England due to the help he gets from the pitches here. “I think England is a bowler’s paradise. As they say, because the ball swings well here. At times, you end up taking a lot of wickets in one spell itself. England is one of my favourite places to play cricket and to bowl as well. England has got a lot of lateral movement and off the pitch movement. So, it’s up to you on how you want to make use of that.”