Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur. (Credits: Twitter)

Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan thinks that Indian team management needs to be very cautious while managing bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur in the coming years.

Thakur showed a stupendous all-round performance in India’s victory at The Oval in the fourth Test as he scored fifty in both of his innings and claimed the important wickets of England opener Rory Burns and skipper Joe Root on the final day to help India win by 157 runs.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur after reaching his fifty off 31 balls. (Image: Twitter)

We’ve to be smart enough to manage Shardul Thakur nicely: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan is of the opinion that the team management should let Shardul Thakur bat no.8 and not promote him instantly as they need someone who can provide a handful of runs in that position.

“We’ve to be smart enough to manage him nicely. By that, I mean that we don’t put added pressure on him by promoting him from No 8 to No 7. Right now, he’s shown signs of being a good, handy lower-order batsman. He’s a very, very good No. 8 batsman at the highest level,” Pathan explains his point,” Pathan told Times of India.

“In modern-day cricket, it’s not just about No. 7…You need a guy who bats well, a match-winner at No. 8 as well. With a guy like Shardul at that slot, you may not need a top-quality allrounder at No 7. Let him settle in this position, and get better, and then put extra pressure on him. Don’t put high expectations on him, when he may not be yet ready to bat at No. 7. You’ve to be cautious about it. As of now, let things remain as they are and give him more matches at No. 8. Let him grow as a cricketer,” he added.

Just give Shardul Thakur some time and space: Irfan Pathan

Thakur, who sustained a hamstring injury ahead of the Lord’s Test, has scored 1444 runs and picked 221 wickets for Mumbai in first-class cricket. Pathan feels that one should not have a huge amount of expectations from the Mumbai player and not term him as an all-rounder while allowing him his space to perform well.

“He’s a very good cricketer who contributes regularly for his team. I’ve high expectations from him. There’s a lot to like about him — his bowling action, work ethics. He tries to give it all whenever he plays. He has contributed outstandingly in England so far. He has done more than what people or the team management expected him to do. People have now started to respect him as a cricketer,” Pathan said.

Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan (Image Credit: Twitter)

“However, don’t jump the gun in calling him an all-rounder or not calling him one. Let’s be patient with him. Just give him some time and space. Let him be a contributor for some time, and we can call him (an all-rounder) when the time comes. Don’t hurry. He’s shown potential. He can add things to his game, but with proper timing and planning,” he added. 

India are currently leading the five-match Test series 2-1 against England and aim to win their first Test series in their backyard since 2007.

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