Shardul Thakur walked in at the worst possible time for India in the 3rd ODI vs West Indies in Cuttack on Sunday, but his short cameo at the end of the match – 17 runs off 6 balls – was one of the best finishing jobs seen in India colours in recent times.
Virat Kohli had gone out for 85 in the 46th over, leaving India needing 30 runs off the last 4 overs with all of their specialist batsmen back in the hut.
Shardul smashed 16 runs from his first five balls. The Cuttack crowd, which had been left stunned by Kohli’s ill-timed wicket, were cheering hoarse once again. Kohli was seen jumping out his seat in the dressing room as Shardul crashed Sheldon Cottrell into all parts of the ground.
— gaurav lalvani (@LalvaniGaurav) December 22, 2019
Shardul’s carnage in the Cottrell over meant India needed only nine runs from 14 balls. Ravindra Jadeja went over to him to have a few words. “Just try to bat properly, don’t play silly shots, look to time the ball,” Jadeja told Shardul, as he would reveal after the match.
On asked if he sees himself as a permanent No.8 in the Indian team, Shardul said after the match, “Today was one of those days when I could connect well. I know I have the talent to bat. If I can contribute these 20-25 runs when the team needs me, I would be glad.”
Redemption for IPL 2019 final
Shardul Thakur’s usefulness with the bat was on display for India in the 3rd ODI. Earlier this year, however, Shardul had found himself in an eerily similar situation, and had failed to come up with the goods on that day.
In the 2019 IPL final, Shardul Thakur was on strike – with Jadeja at the non-striker’s end – as Chennai Super Kings needed 2 runs to win off the last ball.
Shardul would fail on that day, as Lasith Malinga would bowl a perfect last ball, and Mumbai Indians would win the 2019 IPL, but Shardul has proved his batting acumen many times before.
He scored a vital 15* (5) for CSK against SRH in an IPL match in 2018. He has six FC fifties to his name, and has come up with vital knocks in the lower order for Mumbai in domestic cricket over the years.
From standing in local train’s compartment to save travel’s expenses to standing with Jadeja on field to save the match for his country; Shardul thakur has come a long way#INDvsWI pic.twitter.com/a8CtUnmviL
— Subham (@subhsays) December 22, 2019
In 2006, Shardul even hit six sixes in an over in a Haris Shield match, playing for Swami Vivekananda School.
A little over a year ago, Shardul Thakur hobbled off on his Test debut in his second over. Sunday, when he saved the blushes for India, might just have been his day of redemption in more ways than one.
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