Renowned pundit Sanjay Manjrekar heaped praise on Mumbai’s Shardul Thakur and stated that the right-arm seamer is now among the Top 5 all-format, all-round seamers in the country. Manjrekar also expressed his admiration for Ishan Kishan’s fearlessness, which he believes is exciting.
Notorious for leaking runs aplenty, particularly at the back-end, Shardul Thakur enjoyed his most impressive IPL season in 2020, where, predominantly bowling at the death, he outwitted batsmen and finished the competition with a respectable ER of 8.50. He carried that confidence into the tour of Australia, where he excelled across all three formats, and once again proved to be India’s best seamer in the second T20I on Sunday.
On a sluggish wicket that rewarded bowlers who took pace off the ball, Thakur finished with figures of 2/29, humiliating the English batsmen with his variations. The Mumbaikar used his cutters and knuckle-balls to great effect and ensured that he gave the English batsmen no pace to work with and, eventually, his figures turned out to be the joint-best amongst Indian bowlers on the day.
Mighty-impressed by the 29-year-old was Sanjay Manjrekar, who reckoned Thakur is now among the Top 5 Indian seamers across formats.
“Shardul Thakur has grown over the years. He’s been playing IPL forever and was a revelation in Australia when he played Test cricket as well. He’s now bowled a number of overs on all kind of pitches in all formats, so he’s a versatile bowler. Every ball he bowls is different, there is also a lot of mind-reading that he does,” Manjrekar said on ESPN Cricinfo, reviewing the game.
“I was thoroughly impressed with him in Australia and I think he is now in the Top 5 Indian seamers across formats. This was a pitch that he quickly assessed and bowled a lot of slower deliveries. He did not bowl a single quicker delivery in his last over. So he’s become a really good bowler now. I’m quietly confident that he is a bit under-stated, but he is a real seasoned bowler who had a terrific night.”
Thakur’s performance, however, went under the radar thanks to young Ishan Kishan. Making his international debut, Kishan set the Narendra Modi Stadium ablaze, striking a 32-ball 56 that helped team India cross England’s target with 13 balls to spare. Manjrekar was also full of praise for the 22-year-old, who he claimed has added a new dimension to the Indian batting with his fearless approach. The former Indian cricketer reckoned that this fearlessness currently being displayed by new-gen Indian cricketers is helping India revolutionize their T20 batting.
“Ishan Kishan brought the Mumbai Indians approach to the Indian team. He is a formidable batsman for any bowler because if you pitch it up to him, he can hit you straight into crowd. Bowl it short and he can pull you. And the pull he plays is not the generic, instinctive one that most of the Indian batsmen play. He actually picks his spots when playing the pull shot.
“The other exciting thing about Kishan is that he is an excellent player of spin. But more importantly, what has excited me is that these are batsmen who are not afraid to get out. They are not looking to extend their innings. No long-term plan, it’s just about hitting the next ball. If it’s their day, they’ll get you a big score. If they don’t play long enough, they’ll put you in a position like yesterday where the other batsmen can just come and wrap up things. That is where I think Indian T20 batting might start showing a different face where too many batsmen won’t be bothered about getting out,” Manjrekar said.