India’s answer for fast bowling allrounder spot in overseas tests?
India over the years has been looking to get a proper fast-bowling allrounder. Who can act as a full-fledged fast bowler and also can score sufficient runs in the lower middle order. Their experiment with Hardik Pandya in the last 3 years have not provided the desired results.
Hardik is a belligerent batsman down the order and his batting has also improved since he first started playing for India. However, his bowling has been inconsistent though it did provide the odd good spells in tests and ODIs. However, for the last couple of years, chronic injury concerns. Surgery have stopped him from bowling on a regular basis. Even long periods of lockdown have not helped him to recover. In the last white ball home series vs England. Hardik did try to bowl in a few games but again discontinued. Thus, with injuries taking longer to heal, it’s time for India to look beyond Hardik in their quest to find a fast bowling all-rounder .
Probably the best option available to India now is Shardul Thakur. In the historic Gabba test vs Australia, Shardul got his chance due to multiple injury issues to other senior bowlers of the team and turned out to be a major success with bat and ball. With the ball, he took 7 wickets in the game and with the bat. He scored a belligerent 67 full of positive strokeplay and proper cricket shots when India looked in great trouble during their first innings. Is Shardul Thakur, India’s answer for fast bowling allrounder spot in overseas tests?
Shardul is a bowler who is highly skilled with the ball. Has a well-disguised slower one and capable of moving the ball around. A skill which will come in very handy in English conditions in particular. Perhaps his only negative is that he sprays around a little bit and goes for runs at times. However, with regular opportunities, he should be able to plug that loophole.
As a batter, he showed that he has a pretty decent defensive technique and is capable of playing proper cricketing shots. Shardul plays lesser risk shots than Hardik and is perfectly capable to bat at 7.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar may well have been India’s fast bowling allrounder. But in the last 3 years, he has an unfortunate period of fight with injuries and still not considered ready for tests. Shardul can offer more with the bat than Bhuvneshwar.
While the Indian think tank continues to monitor the fitness issues of Hardik. It’s time for them to take a decision with Shardul as a positive option. While Hardik is admittedly a better batter than Shardul, the latter can offer much more with the ball and is a decent fielder too. Shardul’s inclusion will help India to play with the proper five bowlers abroad.
Hence with the England tests looming large, it is time for the Indian thinktank to employ Shardul Thakur as the fast bowling allrounder with his bowling skills just right for English conditions.
Let’s wait and see what the team management decides.