“Shardul Thakur is probably the first choice”

Former India opener Wasim Jaffer reckons all-rounder Shardul Thakur is likely to be the first choice in terms of third seaman in ODIs given the current circumstances. He added that Deepak Chahar will also return once he returns from injury.

Thakur was named Player of the Match for his all-around exploits in the third one-day game against New Zealand at Indore on Tuesday 24 January. He contributed a crucial 25/17 before winning with his average pace of 3/45. The Men in Blue defeated New Zealand by 90 runs to complete a 3–0 win over the Kiwis.

In a post-game discussion, Jaffer addressed the importance of Thakur’s presence in India’s one-day squad. When asked if the 31-year-old is the frontrunner because he is consistently the team’s third closer, the former opener said ESPNcricinfo:

“Right now I think he’s the guy because Deepak Chahar doesn’t play cricket. We don’t know his fitness level. But if he gets back into shape, he’s probably one of those contenders too. He can bowl with the new ball and bat at court 8. Shardul Thakur is probably number 1, and then there’s Deepak Chahar.”

Jaffer welcomed Thakur, adding that the all-rounder is a tough try and not someone who gives up easily. The 44-year-old explains:

“Shardul Thakur has this ability (picking key wickets). He’s one of those guys who keeps trying. He has a lot of variety in his bowling. He uses that short ball really well. He’s got that knuckle ball and he can throw in that wide half volley. He has the habit of abolishing great gates. It doesn’t surprise me. He is a Trier and has a big heart.”

Thakur fired Daryl Mitchell (24) and Tom Latham (0) from back-to-back deliveries before adding Glenn Phillips’ scalp (5). India defended a huge total of 385 and defeated New Zealand with 295.

“He’s ideal for the No. 8 position” – Jaffer on Thakur’s clout

Jaffer shifted the focus to Thakur’s batting ability, describing him as an ideal No.8. He said his 25 at Indore was extremely crucial in the game’s competition. The former opener commented:

“Eighth place is crucial. He (Thakur) made a really good contribution today by hitting that fast 25. Had he not been there, India would not have reached 380 plus. Those 30-40 runs are very important. It is ideal for position #8 and the third sewer.”

Thakur picked up six scalps in the three-game ODI series against New Zealand and shared the lead wicket-taker with Kuldeep Yadav.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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