Indian seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur successfully exorcised the demons of his horror Test debut with a brilliant match-winning performance with both bat and ball in the recently concluded Gabba Test.
Shardul had made his Test debut against the West Indies back in October 2018. However, what should have been a momentous occasion soon turned into a nightmare as he pulled his hamstring 10 balls into his spell.
He was eventually sidelined for over two years before an opportunity arrived in the unlikeliest of circumstances in the series-decider in Brisbane following an injury to Jasprit Bumrah.
Thakur grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he not only claimed seven wickets across both innings but also top-scored for India in their first innings during a decisive 123-run-stand with Washington Sundar.
The manner in which Shardul Thakur took on the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc was a sight to behold. But according to the seam-bowling all-rounder, tackling the pace of Cummins & co was far easy for him as compared to getting a seat in a Mumbai local.
“Getting a seat in a (Mumbai local) train, it required skill and timing. Facing fast bowlers is much easier,” Shardul Thakur told the Indian Express in an interview.
For Thakur, who was grown up playing on matting wickets in Palghar, tackling pace has never been an issue, as was demonstrated during his knock of 67.
“I always enjoy playing fast bowlers, I have never been scared of speed. Am not scared to face even 145 kmph plus. Maybe it’s because of how my cricketing career started. We have a ground in my village where my first few years of cricket were played on matting wickets. The pitch in Palghar had uneven bounce, so handling bounce came naturally to me. At the same time, I faced throwdown specialists regularly in the Indian team nets, so am used to playing pace,” Thakur said.
The Mumbai cricketer also opened up about being away from his family for more than four months.
“I missed my family, my home cooked food, my bed. When I came today my mother said ki kitna patlaa ho gaya hai tu. Khane ko nahi milta tha kya? It’s a line which any mother says. The day the series ended, I was just hoping that I will reach home soon. Suddenly the flight seemed very long, the drive home took very long too. I just wanted to reach home ASAP,” Thakur added.