Ex-cricketer turned commentator Aakash Chopra had nothing but praise for Indian bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur after his stunning counter-attack on Day 1 of the Oval Test against England. Thakur blazed to a 36-ball 57 that included three huge maximums.
When India was staring at another terrible first-innings total, the 29-year-old Thakur launched a counter-attack that left England shocked. Runs started leaking and India managed to reach 191 after staring down the barrel at 127/7. Speaking about the blistering innings, Chopra said:
“When Rishabh Pant got out, I thought we are gone. But after that Shardul comes and shines. He did a fantastic job. Lord Shardul, again and again – Brisbane, he scored the runs. He was actually net bowler in that series but played the match, scored the runs, and took wickets as well.”
“Then in Nottingham, he got Root out in the first innings and Buttler in the second innings. He gives you the important wickets. Here you were 127/7 and he gave you a half-century in which he smashes the England bowlers quite a bit. You reach 191, it is just down to Shardul Thakur once again,” Chopra stated.
“Shardul Thakur is presenting himself as an option for T20 World Cup” – Aakash Chopra
Shardul’s knock was the fastest half-century in England, bettering Ian Botham’s 32-ball fifty. The shots he played were quite orthodox and involved minimum slogging, proving his credentials as a batsman. With the T20 World Cup beginning next month, Chopra believes Thakur warrants a place in the side.
“He is not just scoring runs. He is asking you to pick him for the World T20 because he is bringing you that option. You obviously miss Hardik Pandya but if he is not there, Shardul Thakur is presenting himself as an option.”
“Hardik might be a better batsman than him, no doubt, but he is a better bowler than Hardik. So he is saying that if you are searching for a package, he could be the guy,” he added.
At the end of Day 1, the match was evenly poised with England at 53/3, trailing India by 138 runs.