Manjrekar made his observation after Shardul Thakur once again chipped in with game-changing wickets in the middle-overs in the first One-day International between India and England in Pune. After having been smashed for 30 runs in his first spell of three overs, Thakur came back brilliantly to break the back of the English batting-unit by claiming prized scalps of Jonny Bairstow, captain Eoin Morgan, and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler.
While Morgan was undone with a bouncer, Jos Buttler was trapped leg-before-wicket after the ball skidded off the surface. Shardul has chipped in with consistent wickets during the middle-overs throughout this season in both ODIs and T20Is thanks to his brilliant change of pace and subtle variations like off-cutters and knuckle-ball.
Reacting to the latest heist by Shardul Thakur, Sanjay Manjrekar reckoned on ESPNCricinfo that what makes the Mumbai seamer such a vital force during the middle-overs is that he is technically very sound, something that allows him to be in total control of his variations.
“His economy rate is not great but did what Kuldeep and Chahal would do for Team India a couple of years back, he got wickets in the middle, thereby making India’s job easier,” said Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNCricinfo.
“When you watch him bowl and you compare him with somebody like Prasidh Krishna, you can see the trickery as a white-ball bowler. This is a guy who is technically very sound and that is why he is able to control all his variations. This is not somebody who has a wicket-taking knack or wicket-taking luck but this is a guy who is a wily seam-bowler” added Manjrekar.
Meanwhile, former England batsman Ian Bell hailed Shardul Thakur for his ability to claim wickets during the middle-overs. According to Ian Bell, what makes Shardul so effective is the fact that he is skiddier off the surface and tends to get the ball hurry off the surface.
“Possibly a bit of that [if batsmen fancy taking on Shardul?]. I think he is a bit skiddier and a bit quicker. He has obviously got a fantastic change of pace, we saw that through the T20, that slower-ball, off-cutter. Its a great habit, a natural wicket-taker, just finds ways to get wickets. Getting wickets through middle overs in ODI cricket is so important and he has managed to do that now in both T20s and ODIs. He is a wicket-machine throughout this white-ball period,” said Ian Bell.