Shardul Thakur is shaping up nicely since picking up a groin injury that kept him out of action for two months. On Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium, the seamer took four for 47 to help Mumbai bowl out Chhattisgarh for just 149 in the second innings of their Ranji Trophy match. This took his match tally and figures to eight for 79. It helped Mumbai require just 91 runs to win – which they did on Wednesday morning – to win by 9 wickets and avoid relegation.
“No one has spoken to me yet,” Thakur was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on whether there has been communication with the selectors or BCCI management. There was no national selector present at the venue. Thakur had made his Test debut against West Indies in Hyderabad but it lasted a mere 10 balls before he limped off the ground.
This account was however contradicted by a member within the BCCI. “The selectors have been speaking to him from the time he was set to return to action, in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy game against Vidarbha at Nagpur on New Year’s Eve. He’s been told that he should keep himself ready to play for India A for the limited over and ‘Test’ series against the England Lions at home,” said the person to Times of India.
Speaking about how his fitness is now, Thakur said: “I’m getting better every game, every day. The way I bowled against Vidarbha (his first game back), on Days One and Two was different. I improved on Day Two. Here at Wankhede, I improved from the last game,” Thakur said.
He added that at the moment he’s focused on gaining match practice. “At the moment, I’m not worried about speed. I need to bowl as many overs as I can in a match, and take that experience with me, so that when I play at a higher level, I can take that workload. Talking about my speed, it will come. I’ve been training, doing my fitness sessions,” he said.
Thakur went on to admit that his bowling isn’t 100 per cent there yet. “I’m at the 90 per cent mark. I’m coming out of a major injury. If I say I’m bowling at 100 per cent, or if I try to bowl 100 per cent, it will be silly of me to do that immediately. As I said earlier, I’m progressing slowly, so hopefully, I’ll get there in a few weeks,” he said.
He expressed his displeasure with Mumbai’s poor show this Ranji Trophy season. “It’s painful. All these years we’ve made the knockouts. we’ve made the semis, played in two finals. Since I started playing for Mumbai, this is the first time that we’ve not qualified for the knockouts. It was painful sitting at home and watching your team not do well. A lot of times I felt that I should be playing out there helping the team, but I couldn’t do much since I was injured,” he lamented.
Thakur, who has played five ODIs and seven T20Is for India, seems to have taken his nightmare of a start to Test career in his stride. “Injuries are a part and parcel of the game. I was unlucky that it happened on my Test debut. Maybe if I was playing some club game, it would have happened there, and you would still call me unlucky,” he said.
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