Here’s How Zaheer Khan’s Advice Changed Shardul Thakur’s Career

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‘Lord’ Shardul Thakur isn’t just a meme anymore; it’s a lifestyle. The Palghar-born cricketer has been part of three of India’s memorable overseas wins – in Gabba, Oval, and Centurion – where he made telling contributions, with either bat or ball.

He has started 2022 with a bang, recording the best innings figures by an Indian bowler in South Africa. Shardul Thakur claimed 7/61 in the ongoing Johannesburg Test, restricting South Africa’s lead to 27.

Shardul Thakur has traversed on a hard path in his life to reach the stage he has today. From travelling 100 Kms to losing 13 Kgs weight, Thakur’s journey has been nothing short of inspirational.

Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur’s Mumbai teammate, recently revealed to The Indian Express that former India pacer Zaheer Khan had advised the all-rounder to reduce his weight. Thakur took heed of Khan’s words and worked hard on his fitness to drop his weight from 83 to around 70 Kgs.

Kulkarni also spoke highly about Shardul Thakur’s now much-talked-about attitude, his never-give-up mantra, and the passion with which he bowls every single delivery.

“His attitude took him to a different level. The intensity with which he bowled his first over was also visible in the final session. A fast bowler needs an attitude and he should have high intensity to bowl with the same passion every time. Thakur has all that,” Kulkarni says.

India Captain Virat Kohli had termed Shardul Thakur as an ‘all-rounder’ at the toss in the first Test in Centurion. Following his historic 7-for in the second Test, the 30-year-old reflected that the selectors think of him as a bowling all-rounder, a role which he’s happy to play to help the balance of the side.

“The team management and selectors think that I’m a genuine bowler. That’s why I’m here. My performances in domestic cricket, in red-ball and white-ball cricket have been rewarded. Whenever given an opportunity to play for India, I’m always up for it, especially Test cricket. When I’m playing red-ball cricket, my energy is different, my mindset is different. I’m always willing to take wickets for the team,” Thakur said after Day 2 at the Wanderers.

He explained that adapting to the South African conditions has been tough, but the visitors have taken on the challenge and done well so far.

“It’s important to have an understanding of the situations in the game and also, around the team, when you are playing in overseas conditions. Conditions change at every ground. We aren’t used to playing in these conditions. So, I have to keep adapting,” Thakur added.

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