Shardul Thakur topped India’s wickets charts in their T20I sweep of New Zealand, taking eight in five games at 19.62. In the three ODIs that followed, as New Zealand returned the favour, blanking India 3-0, that average of Thakur’s went up to 56.75. And through both series, when he was striking regularly and when he was not, Thakur was not the most economical of India’s bowlers by a margin – overall only Shivam Dube was more expensive in the T20Is, only Kuldeep Yadav in the ODIs.
Asked about where he went wrong in the ODIs and how he dealt with leaking all those runs, he came across as positive and practical in his self-assessment at an event in Mumbai on Monday. “It’s okay to go for runs. Not every time will you end up bowling extraordinarily,” Thakur said. “But if you’re going to win the game… I think this way, if I’m going to go for 20 runs [in an over] then how can I cut it down to 16 or how can I cut it down to 14 or 15.
“The difference of four-five runs, if we are defending, in the end the [opposition] team instead of needing 10 runs will need 15 runs, or if we’re bowling first then we’ll have to score those many runs less. That’s how I motivate myself, that’s what I keep telling myself.”
The dimensions of grounds in New Zealand made the tour more challenging for Indian bowlers, he said, but he was confident in his “learnings”. “Every ground is different there. If you see Auckland [Eden Park] it’s very small in the front [straight boundaries] and in the sides [square boundaries] it is decent – not big, not small, it’s decent. Whereas Wellington [Westpac Stadium] was very small on the sides, Hamilton [Sneddon Park] was small on three sides and only one side was big. So these were the challenges we had to face there.
“I think I did well on the tour. One or two games had been up and down for me, but that’s okay as long as I learn from it. Whenever I get an opportunity to play there again, I’ll make sure that I don’t repeat the mistakes that I made now. I don’t consider them as mistakes, I will consider them as learnings as it was only my first trip to New Zealand.”
Next up for India is a home-ODI series against South Africa, before the IPL kicks off. Thakur, who will turn out for Chennai Super Kings, said hitting form in the IPL would set players up for the busy season ahead but his main focus remained the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. And, he made it clear, he was upbeat about his chances at the show-piece tournament.
“Definitely the IPL is important, and the momentum we gain from IPL will be crucial. There are Sri Lanka T20s coming up after IPL, we’re going to Zimbabwe as well, then we’re playing the Asia Cup, then we’re going into the T20 World Cup. But certainly I have my eyes on the T20 World Cup.
“I believe that the positivity that I bring into the game and the amount of confidence that I have and the way that I’m passionate about the game will certainly help the team to win the World Cup, or at the very least do the job fairly.”
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