Having finished with figures of 4/67, Shardul Thakur has admitted that it was essential to bring in variations to outfox the English batsmen on such flat decks. Alongside that, Bhuvneshwar Kumar also credited the bowling unit for responding well across the three ODIs with crucial wickets.
When two of the best ODI sides go head-to-head, contests are closely fought and winners rise up to the occasion. It was similar in the three-match ODI series between India and England, with both the sides fighting neck-to-neck, as India came away with a 2-1 series win over the No.1 ranked ODI side.
With England’s batting approach and long batting order, it was quintessential for the Indian bowlers to pick up wickets in the middle-overs. While India struggled in the second ODI, in the first and second, they had heroes in the form of Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Prasidh Krishna.
In the third ODI, it was the Mumbai pacer Shardul, who was assigned the tough task of bowling in the middle-overs with India fielding just the one spinner. Despite India’s great start, reducing England to 68/3, the duo of Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler threatened to take the game away at which point, Thakur struck twice. He added that it was essential to bring variations in white-ball cricket on such surfaces.
"When I came to bowl 3 wickets had already gone, Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler seemed like they were in good form. I tried to take their wickets because they bat very deep. Against such sides, it is always important to pick wickets and restrict them from scoring those runs,” Shardul told Bhuvneshwar on BCCI.tv’s video.
"Very difficult with the old ball to get wickets, you have to do something or the other to get wickets. It is essential to bring in the variations in white-ball cricket. I try to bring in the cutters, slower-ball bouncers, etc to outfox the batsmen. If we give up on the confidence level, then it is impossible to make a comeback against such a batting order,” he added.
On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar Kumar too was vital to India’s ODI win, with figures of 3/42, sending back the in-form English openers cheaply. Despite losing a lot of pace, Bhuvneshwar admitted that he was just thinking about swinging the ball and not worrying about the pace.
“I just was thinking about swinging the ball, even if it came at the expense of speed. I knew that if I got the ball swinging, I knew there was a chance of getting a wicket and that’s exactly what happened,” said Bhuvneshwar.
He also added that it was indeed a ‘challenging’ series against English batsmen, crediting the bowling unit for chipping constantly in the series, picking important wickets in the middle-overs.
“Actually, it comes from experience, be it line and length, I have learnt small things from every bowler that I have played with, in the past and present. To be honest, it was a challenging series, their batting line-up if they bat 50 overs, they will score good runs. The way the bowling unit responded, the way Shardul picked wickets in the middle-overs, that was crucial as well. It was a good series overall," he added.