L to R: Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur. (Getty Images)
L to R: Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur. (Getty Images)

'Since Kapil Dev, I haven't seen a batsman open his arms like he did': Jadeja in awe of India's 'free-flowing' batsman

  • India vs Australia: Former batsman Ajay Jadeja has made a pretty bold claim, saying the free-flowing batting of one of India's batsmen from the current squad is probably the most effective he's seen by any India batsman since the legendary Kapil Dev.
By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:54 PM IST

Former batsman Ajay Jadeja has made a pretty bold claim, saying the free-flowing batting of one of India's batsmen from the current squad is probably the most effective he's seen by any India batsman since the legendary Kapil Dev. The player Jadeja is talking about is Shardul Thakur, who, playing only his second Test, scored his maiden half-century in the format, scoring 67 off 115 balls in India's first innings of the Brisbane Test.

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Having said that, Jadeja made it clear that although he isn't comparing Thakur to Kapil, the manner in which 29-year-old opened his arms while batting against Australia's pacers on Sunday, was better than he's seen any India batsman play, probably better than the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni.

“More than his bowling, I was more impressed with his batting. When you see an Indian all-rounder, you think about Kapil Dev. I'm not even trying to say that he's anywhere close to Kapil Dev, but after Kapil Dev, if I've seen a batsman open his arms the same way when he's batting, it's him (Shardul) – and I'm including all the batsmen that we've seen. The free-flowing batting that you saw yesterday, there’s more to it,” Jadeja said on the Extraaa Innings Show on the Sony Sports Network, following the end of play on Day 4.

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Jadeja added that going forward, Thakur's remarkable ability with that bat, can make him a strong contender in India's starting XI, given the balance he can provide. “Just see the way he's batted. The hand is flowing… free-flowing player. The balance is so good. Those are shots that you expect from a batsman and here’s a player that Indian cricket has not even thought of as someone who could chip with both bat and ball,” the former batsman pointed out.

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“He can play aggressive as well, is a decent fielder. So when you’re looking at a team for India and we say 'look, we don't know how to put that balance right because either batting or short or bowling is short, he is the man for that.”

Besides batting, Jadeja praised Thakur for evolving in his primary skills, i.e. – batting, saying the fast bowler has matured since making his Test debut for India in 2018. "Grinding himself in First-Class cricket has made him stronger mentally. We have seen that difference in his bowling. Couple of years ago, he was a tearaway fast bowler. He is still bowling quick; he's not bowled slow. Infact he's bowled closer to 140, but it's more measured and has more control," Jadeja added.

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