His seventh, at the Gabba for India against Australia in just his second Test, has become most famous and important.
The right-arm pace bowler, who picked three wickets in the first innings, hammered 67 off 115 deliveries in a knock that helped India reduce the first innings deficit to just 33.
“Having played so much first-class cricket and also for India A definitely helped. The confidence level is high and there is also the desire to move up when you take a leap to Test cricket from first-class level,” said Dinesh Lad, who mentored Thakur at his school in Mumbai.
Thakur is from Palghar which is three hours away from Mumbai and, due to the distance, the pace bowler initially stayed with Lad at his house. He went to the same school as Rohit Sharma and Lad’s son.
“This is his natural batting style. He scored 78 and picked five wickets when I saw him for the first time in a school game. That knock of 78 was similarly aggressive. The only difference is that he showed some patience today. His usual batting style is very aggressive,” Lad told IANS.
Thakur, 29, himself said that he has talent for batting and had been working at nets.
“I have some talent for batting. In nets, I don’t just bowl but whenever we have throwdown specialists available with the team, I practice batting too. These moments are the ones for which we wait. So when this opportunity came, I had one thing on my mind, just bat. I thought the longer I stay on the pitch, the more runs I will get and reduce the lead. Idea was to spend time in the middle,” Thakur told reporters.
He had previously played in Brisbane in 2016 with the India A team. “We were here in 2016. We played a couple of four-day games at the Allan Border Field. Though the pitch there is different. But at least you get used to the climate. You are used to the Australian conditions. So when you take that leap from India A to India team, the transition is not that difficult. It is all about how you execute the plans when you play for the senior teams,” Thakur said in reply to a question from IANS on past experience in Australia.
In Pics: Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur drag India back into Brisbane Test
Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur gave India a fighting chance of securing the draw they need in the fourth Test against Australia to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. (BCCI Photo)
Lad says Thakur’s big plus point is that he keeps calm. “On this wicket, you have to keep cool. Play with straight bat and pitch the ball up to take wickets. That is what he has done,” he said. “His advantage is that he bowls outswing unlike others and is also quick.”
Before his 67 on Sunday, he picked three wickets in Australia’s first innings. Two of those wickets came from deliveries pitched up well. The one that removed Paine moved away and had him caught in slips.