Former India pacer Zaheer Khan has termed Shardul Thakur ‘the silent hero’ of India’s T20I series win against England.
Shardul was the leading wicket-taker in the five-match series, with eight wickets at an average of 21. His economy rate (9.69) was on the higher side, but he finished with an excellent strike rate of 13.
According to Zaheer, though Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer made valid contributions with the bat, medium-pacer Shardul also did his job perfectly.
“Shardul Thakur, if you’ve noticed… there are so many big names in this Indian cricket team, so much of flamboyance. In all of that, this player is doing his job silently. He’s the silent hero of this series. His numbers are as good as any top player,” Zaheer was quoted as saying to Cricbuzz.
In the fourth T20I, Shardul dismissed the well-set Ben Stokes and England captain Eoin Morgan off consecutive deliveries, shifting the game in his team’s favour.
Again, in the series-deciding encounter, the 29-year-old sent back dangerous-looking Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow in the same over. India went on to win the match by 36 runs, and with it, the series 3-2.
Zaheer reckoned that Shardul has become a different player since the Australia tour. The Mumbaikar scored a crucial half-century and bagged important wickets in the Brisbane Test to play a vital role in India’s historic triumph.
“Ever since the Australia series, I have seen a big change in his thinking and body language. Even if you look at him carefully in the field, his confidence is sparkling. When you are playing international cricket for long, it usually takes people time to understand their game and prolong his career, but Thakur is already at a stage where he knows what’s best for him and what he needs to avoid. Put him in any situation and he will thrive,” added Zaheer.