Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar picked Shardul Thakur as the third seamer for the all-important World Test Championship final. The Virat Kohli-led side is scheduled to lock horns with New Zealand from June 18 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
The cricketer-turned-commentator chose Thakur, mentioning him as a ‘proper swing bowler’ ahead of Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj. Alongside Thakur, Manjrekar picked Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami to complete the fast bowling trio.
Sanjay Manjrekar reckoned that the Kiwis have an upper hand in the swing bowlers department and Shardul can help India negate the deficit. He added that English pitch conditions will suit the bowling style of the 29-year old.
“When India play New Zealand in the first half of the English summer in the World Test Championship final, I would prefer Shardul Thakur — being a swing bowler — to be the third seamer behind Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami,” Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.
“Let me elaborate: when India were in New Zealand, one of the things that India missed was a proper swing bowler. I know Indians didn’t bat well but one of the reasons why New Zealand won was because they had proper swing bowlers who could exploit the conditions in New Zealand. Now in the first half of the English summer, the sun doesn’t come out as much. So the condition will be similar to what we had in New Zealand,” he added.
‘Shardul Thakur has proved he can be an all-rounder’: Bharat Arun
India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun also heaped praises for Shardul Thakur after his mind-blowing all-round performance during the Australia tour. He mentioned that Thakur has got all the abilities to contribute in every department of the game.
“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,” Arun said.
Apart from the aforementioned pace bowling options, India also have Umesh Yadav alongside Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Arzan Nagwaswalla as reserves.
India’s squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance)
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