'He was making waves in domestic cricket': Zaheer Khan recalls telling a young Shardul Thakur to lose weight

Published on Jan 22, 2022 10:08 AM IST

Zaheer, who took 597 international wickets including Tests, ODIs and T20Is for India, rewound to Sharul's formative years.

Shardul Thakur(Getty Images)
Shardul Thakur(Getty Images)
By, New Delhi

Shardul Thakur's batting prowess is slowly him a compelling choice for the starting eleven. The 30-year-old all-rounder from Palghar turned up with the bat yet again on Friday, scoring a brisk 40 against South Africa in the second ODI of the series at Paarl.

Shardul scored a 38-ball 40 while Ravichandran Ashwin added 25 off 24 deliveries to put up an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 48 in the last six overs, helping India reach 287 for six in their bid to level the series. Thakur had also provided India with some respite in the series opener, scoring an entertaining fifty off 43 deliveries which featured five fours and a six.

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He is rapidly entering the picture as a dependable batting option for India and former pacer Zaheer Khan is all praise for the ‘Palghar Express’.

 Zaheer, who took 597 international wickets including Tests, ODIs and T20Is for India, also rewound to Sharul's formative years. It was Zaheer who told Shardul to lose some weight when both players were a part of the Mumbai Ranji camp.

"He's contributed with the ball and bat as well. It was during his early years when he was playing Ranji. He was making waves in domestic cricket for Mumbai with his fast bowling, and he used to bat as well. I feel happy after seeing Shardul fulfil his potential. Expectations are being put on him and it's always a satisfying feeling to see a player doing justice to his talent," Zaheer said on Cricbuzz.

After putting up a batting show in the second ODI, Shardul trapped Quinton de Kock to break the opening partnership of South Africa. He ended up with figures of 1/35 in five overs, adding to India's lacklustre display with the ball.

Earlier, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul played knocks of 85 and 55 respectively as India posted 287 for 6 in the allotted fifty overs. Despite a challenging total on the scoreboard, the Indian bowlers looked mediocre on the wicket, failing to scalp wickets at regular intervals and putting some pressure on the opposition. 

De Kock (78 off 66 balls) in the company of rising sensation Janneman Malan (91 off 108 balls) added 132 for a match-deciding opening stand as South Africa eventually reached the target in 48.1 overs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game series.

India have slumped to back-to-back series defeats in South Africa after recording a big victory in the first Test last month. The action now shifts to Cape Town where Rahul and Co will be looking to claim a consolation ODI win in the rainbow nation.

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