Shardul Thakur: Can CSK’s Man For All Seasons be India’s “Man Friday”?

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Shardul Thakur has been included in the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup on Wednesday.© TSTIME

Shardul Thakur was named to India’s ICC T20 World Cup squad on Wednesday in place of left-arm spinner Axar Patel. It’s a direct trade as Axar will now be in the reserve roster, where Thakur was originally named as part of India’s preliminary squad for the flagship event, which will be played in the United Arab Emirates and in Oman. India had nominated a total of five spin throwers in their preliminary squad, keeping conditions in the UAE and Oman in mind, but even then Thakur’s exclusion came as a surprise. The Medium Pace impressed in all formats with its versatile abilities. He has a number of variations up his sleeves with a ball in hand and has also shown his prowess at using the long handle in command.

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His performances in the UAE’s current stage of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) for the Chennai Super Kings have been phenomenal. He picked up 13 wickets in 7 games for CSK which helped the team advance to the playoffs. He went without a wicket in Qualifier 1 against the Delhi Capitals, but the team advanced to the final. Thakur has been a trusted man for the skipper of CSK MS Dhoni and has most often answered the captain’s call by picking up crucial wickets.

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Dhoni will wear the Indian team’s mentor cap at the ICC T20 World Cup and he could make the most of Thakur in these conditions where a bowler’s ability to use the change of pace could be a crucial factor.

Not only his IPL performance, Thakur has also been impressive playing for India in international cricket. He picked up 67 wickets in all formats for India and made a useful contribution with the bat lower in order.

Thakur belongs to a rare breed of cricketers who cannot be judged solely on the basis of their career stats. He’s a utility cricketer who knows his role on the team very well and has the odd knack of performing well when his team needs him most.

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Whether it was during the Down Under Test Series or the Oval Test Match, or the many occasions he delivered the goods in limited cricket, Thakur’s contributions with bat and ball are worth his weight in gold, which whatever their match numbers are. .

Captain Virat Kohli and mentor MS Dhoni hope Thakur puts his A-game to the fore as India seeks to end its ICC title drought over the next month or so.

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