Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar

Former Indian pace bowler Zaheer Khan gave Shardul Thakur important advice that shaped his career.

On Tuesday, Thakur bagged seven wickets against South Africa in the first innings to help India avoid a big lead as the hosts were bowled out for 229.

Thakur first broke the 74-run alliance between Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen as he sent the former back to the dressing room. Thakur used his back of length delivery that poked Elgar’s edge to Rishabh Pant behind the stumps.

He later dismissed the well-set Keegan Petersen with a wide length ball that shaped away and kissed the batter’s outside edge before flying to Mayank Agarwal at the second slip.

Shardul Thakur
Photo Credit: (AP)

At the stroke of lunch, the all-rounder got Rassie van der Dussen, though the catch taken by Pant wasn’t clear the batter was declared out as umpires failed to give an explicit verdict on the dismissal.

Thakur once again separated the set duo of Temba Bavuma (51) and Kyle Verreynne (21) as he got both the wickets in successive overs to achieve his maiden five-wicket haul.

Thakur later picked the last two wickets of Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi to restrict South Africa’s lead to just 27 runs, which India managed to get past in the eighth over of their second innings.

Shardul Thakur’s attitude took him to a different level: Dhawal Kulkarni

In a report by The Indian Express, Mumbai pace bowler Dhawal Kulkarni revealed that it was Zaheer who told Thakur to lose weight in order to play the game at big levels.

His (Shardul Thakur) attitude took him to a different level. The intensity with which he bowled his first over was also visible in the final session. A fast bowler needs an attitude and he should have high intensity to bowl with the same passion every time. Thakur has all that,” Kulkarni told Indian Express.

My energy is different when I am playing red-ball cricket: Shardul Thakur

Thakur said that he wants to perform at his best and is eager to take more wickets in Test cricket. The Mumbai all-rounder said that he will have to adapt to the overseas conditions to excel in his performance.

“The team management and selectors think that I’m a genuine bowler. That’s why I’m here. My performances in domestic cricket, in red-ball and white-ball cricket have been rewarded. Whenever given an opportunity to play for India, I’m always up for it, especially Test cricket. When I’m playing red-ball cricket, my energy is different, my mindset is different. I’m always willing to take wickets for the team,” Thakur said after Day 2 at the Wanderers.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur (Image: ICC)

“It’s important to have an understanding of the situations in the game and also, around the team, when you are playing in overseas conditions. Conditions change at every ground. We aren’t used to playing in these conditions. So, I have to keep adapting,” he added.

Although Indian openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal departed at the end of the day, senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane remained firm at the crease and took India’s lead to 58 at the end of the day’s play.

Also Read: Shardul Thakur Was One Of The Chief Architects Behind India’s Win At The Gabba, And In England– Sunil Gavaskar