Team India bowling coach Bharat Arun has lauded India and Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur and even said that Thakur has proved his all-round capabilities and sees him as a capable contender for fast bowling all-rounder spot in the team ever since Hardik Pandya’s back injury restricted his role with the ball.
Hardik Pandya’s name was missing from the Team India squad that was announced for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand and the five-match Test series against England after it was made clear that Pandya was not ready to take on the burden of bowling full tilt.
In fact, Pandya last played a Test match on the 2018 tour of England and was then laid low from a back injury he suffered during the Asia Cup 2018. He underwent surgery after the 2019 World Cup and took a year to come back. He played as a pure batsman for the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020 in UAE and even though he made his India comeback, he has seldom bowled his full quota of overs in both T20Is and ODIs.
Shardul Thakur Has Proved He Can Be An All-Rounder. What He Did In Australia Was Fabulous: Bharat Arun
India has since been on the lookout for a replacement for Hardik Pandya until he regains full fitness and is able to bowl in full. India has tried Shivam Dube and Vijay Shankar in limited-overs format but to no success.
Arun, in a conversation with PTI, said that while the selectors will have the last word on finding the next set of options, Thakur has certainly made a case for himself. Shardul Thakur made his India Test comeback in the Brisbane match against Australia on the recent tour and played a 67-run knock and picked 7 wickets to help India win the match and the series.
“It is more of a selectors’ job to find them and then we can develop those all-rounders. Shardul Thakur has proved he can be an all-rounder. What he did in Australia was fabulous. I wish you could just wish and develop bowlers like that. Hardik is an outstanding talent, but unfortunately, he had to undergo a back operation and then it’s not very easy to come back after that,” Arun told PTI.
“He (Hardik Pandya) bowled against England, I thought he did a really good job. But to sustain that, we need to manage him well and build on his strength,” Arun added.
Arun said that the selectors should be on the lookout for pace all-rounders in the domestic circuit.
“So ideally, yes (we need to develop seam bowling all-rounder), there must be a few (in domestic cricket) because we are always on the circuit with the Indian team. We have not had an opportunity to look at the domestic all-rounders,” he added.
Thakur has also spoken about his desire to be seen as a bowling all-rounder and he is expected to get his fair share of chances during the upcoming tour of England.