Former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim reckons Shardul Thakur is on the way to become a batting all-rounder – one who bowls pace, one which India have lacked since Hardik Pandya, who has been away from Test cricket for three years due to injury.
Thakur has hit three fifties – all at crucial junctures in the game and in away conditions – in his 4-Test career so far, and has been effective with the ball as well.
While applauding Thakur’s batting abilities, Saba Karim also highlighted that the Palghar-born cannot be the third seamer in a 3-man pace attack, but, he believes, Thakur can be a fifth bowler in a 4-man bowling attack.
“The runs Shardul Thakur added were highly valuable for the Indian team in both innings. The most important thing to note here is that all the good knocks of Shardul Thakur have come in SENA countries so far. The first one came at the GABBA, a hard and bouncy surface. And here he got runs in England, where the conditions are perceived to be difficult for batting,” Saba Karim said while speaking on the Khelneeti Podcast.
“Shardul Thakur is emerging as a batting all-rounder. But I feel like he cannot be the third seamer in the attack when the team goes in with three seamers and one spinner. But when India wants to play with 2 seamers, 2 spinners, and one extra bowler, then Shardul perfectly fits in.”
Young players should not be compared with legends: Saba Karim
Saba Karim, who played 1 Test, 34 ODIs and had been in the BCCI administration as well, reckoned young and upcoming players shouldn’t be bogged down by comparing them to former cricketers – Pandya, in his initial years was often compared with the legendary Kapil Dev.
“We need to let these young players create their own identity and name. They should not be compared with legends, as we all did in the case of Hardik. We can only hope that they continue to improve their skills and keep performing at a high level,” the 53-year-old stated.
Meanwhile, the Oval Test is heading towards a draw – the pitch hasn’t shown too many signs of deterioration. By Lunch on Day 5, England have lost just 2 wickets but the target is looking far away.