Shardul Thakur, who played a significant hand in India’s victory in 3rd ODI, has expressed that he has no regrets over not being a part of the T20 squad, despite impressing in his only outing in the ODIs. Thakur further emphasized the importance of bowlers executing their plans to attain success.
After conceding scores of 374 and 389 in the first two ODIs, skipper Virat Kohli decided to reshuffle the Indian side for the third and final ODI in Canberra on Wednesday, and a beneficiary of the same was Shardul Thakur. Having sat out the first two ODIs, Thakur sent a message to the management through his performance in the third ODI, in which he scalped three crucial wickets. Using his cross seamers and cutters, Thakur outfoxed the Aussie batsmen and finished with astonishing figures of 3/51 to hand the Men in Blue a consolation win.
However, despite there being three T20s to follow, the Canberra ODI will remain Thakur’s only game of the tour, due to him not being a part of the 20-over squad. But speaking on the back of his match-winning performance, the speedster asserted that he always had his eyes only on the ODIs, and claimed he is not bothered a bit by his absence from the shortest format.
“The team was selected long back, I wasn’t thinking about the T20 series because I’m not a part of the T20 squad,” Thakur said in the press conference post the third ODI.
The 29-year-old scalped three wickets on Wednesday, but none was more important than that of Steve Smith, who was aiming to score a third consecutive ton. In the 12th over of the chase, Smith tickled a loosener from Thakur to the keeper, down the leg-side, and the dismissal ended up tilting the game in the visitors’ favour. Reflecting on the dismissal, Thakur admitted that he got lucky, but insisted that the wicket of the former skipper was priceless.
“I feel sometimes we get lucky. When Steve Smith was batting we had planned to bowl to his stumps and he just edged it down the leg-side. So, kind of lucky that way, but I would appreciate that wicket. He is a top player and getting him early in the innings while defending 302 I think it’s huge. And like I said, winning this game, defending 302, will be a big boost heading into the T20s.”
Unlike the bowler he replaced - Navdeep Saini - Thakur, instead of pace, resorted to smart bowling, using his cutters and cross-seamers to great effect. That proved to be an effective tactic as the Aussies struggled to score off Thakur’s variations, which bamboozled many a batsman. The right-armer insisted that the key on flat batting wickets is to be clear about plans and execute them to perfection.
“To be honest the grounds are big, and the pitches were very good to bat on in this series, so bowlers have to be even more smart. When there are such high scoring games, they have to execute their plans again and again - ball after ball. So the key is to execute plans and use variations smartly. That would help in the end.”
With the ODI series coming to a conclusion, the two sides will kick-start the T20Is from Friday, December 3, at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.