Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur was the leading bowler for his team in the last Ranji season, a year after finishing as joint-highest wicket-taker in the Trophy. The reward was a call up for the West Indies tour and then to the India side as an injury replacement for the third Test against New Zealand in Indore.
Being in the mix is one thing, but taking the huge step forward to reach the level to compete for an India spot is altogether different. However, Shardul, 24, who landed in Delhi to face Baroda in the Ranji tie at Palam on Thursday, showed the work ethic required to progress.
Thakur bowled a marathon 22 overs on the opening day, claiming two top-order wickets. With India scheduled to play another 10 Tests at home this season, Thakur knows it won’t hurt to build the rhythm and discipline of bowling long spells through the day.
“If you think about the future, you have to invest in the present. If you put the effort here, then you can know how much effort you need to put at international level,” Thakur said after Mumbai had reduced Baroda to 286/9 at stumps.
Anil Kumble has emphasised on rotating the bowlers and Thakur said he was following the advice given by the India coach.
“The time in the dressing room is a great place to learn. Anil Kumble’s experience counts a lot. We took into account whatever he told us and tried it out in the nets. He spoke out of his own experience and that helped me a lot.”
Thakur went flat out to discover his potential for international cricket. He bowled three long spells and bent his back to generate pace and bounce. One bouncer kicked off the pitch and sent a fending Deepak Hooda back.
“Deepak was trying to get too much on the front foot and idea was to surprise him. (But) I didn’t expect the ball to kick off like that.”
After the West Indies tour, Thakur was in the India A squad that toured Australia and picked 5/101 against Australia ‘A’. Before that, he took three wickets against South Africa and England during the World T20 warm-up games.