Shardul Thakur has made it into India’s 15-man provisional World Cup 2023 squad, which was announced on Tuesday by captain Rohit Sharma and chief selector Ajit Agarkar. Although the squad can be changed till September 28, Shardul Thakur seems to have cemented his spot, not just in the squad, but in India’s playing XI as the number 8, bowling all-rounder.
In the last two press conferences, captain Rohit Sharma has stressed the importance of having batting depth, which is why Shardul Thakur got picked ahead of Mohammed Shami in the Asia Cup 2023 game against Pakistan. He then also gave India their first breakthrough with the ball against Nepal after a blistering opening stand but bowled only 4 overs in the match.
However, former BCCI chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth isn’t impressed with Shardul Thakur’s selection in the World Cup squad, not least as a playing XI member ahead of genuine bowlers.
During a show for Star Sports, Srikkanth had a heated debate with former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar on Shardul Thakur’s place in the side.
Conversation between Srikkanth and Bangar:
Srikkanth: Is Shardul Thakur a complete batsman?
Bangar: In Test cricket, yes.
Srikkanth: I’m talking about ODI cricket. Is he an all-rounder?
Bangar: Yes he is.
Srikkanth: How is he an all-rounder? After T20 World Cup, he only big score was 25.
Bangar: His bowling is good.
Srikkanth: How is his bowling good? In his career, how many times has he bowled for full 10 overs?
Don’t get fooled by overall averages; look at individual matches: Srikkanth on Shardul Thakur
Since the end of the 2019 World Cup, among the bowlers of the 10 teams in the World Cup 2023, Thakur is the 4th leading wicket-taker and has the most wickets for a pacer in ODIs in this period. He also averages 17 with the bat in ODIs with a half-century.
Kris Srikkanth, however, opined that the Palghar cricketer has achieved most of his success against lower-ranked teams and hasn’t done well against strong sides.
“Everyone is saying we need a batter at No. 8…who needs a batter at No. 8? Shardul Thakur is only scoring 10 there and he doesn’t even bowl for 10 overs. In the match against Nepal, how many overs did he bowl? 4 only. See, don’t see performances against sides like West Indies or Zimbabwe.
“Yes if he performs well, then keep that in the back of your mind, but don’t give importance to that. Instead stress on performances against teams like Australia or New Zealand. That is why I say, don’t get fooled by overall averages, always look at individual matches,” Srikkanth added.
India’s World Cup 2023 squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah