Shardul Thakur could not hide his joy on Monday after earning his first selection for India for the four-Test series in the West Indies.
“I cannot say in words how happy I am,” the 24-year-old right-arm medium-pacer told dna. “When Sandeep Patil sir called me to inform about my selection, I was on cloud nine. I will talk to you later. I just want to celebrate the moment,” he added.
Thakur’s hard work in Ranji Trophy has finally been rewarded. With 133 wickets from 37 first-class matches since his debut in 2012-13, Thakur has been one of the consistent performers in domestic scene, bowling untiringly on some of the lifeless pitches.
“I was hoping to be selected for the Test team. I deserved to be selected as I have been doing well in the last three seasons,” Thakur said.
After picking up a joint highest 48 sticks in 2014-15 Ranji Trophy season, Thakur has been knocking on the doors of international cricket. He preceded that season with 27 wickets in six Ranji matches and followed it with another 41 in the 2015-16 in which Mumbai won the title for the 41st time.
Selection to India ‘A’ last season against the visiting Australia and South Africa ‘A’ sides besides a place in the Board President’s XI squad against South Africa in the two-day game late last year were all learning experiences for the right-arm bowler whose strength is moving the ball way from the right-hander at a good pace.
“Playing for India ‘A’ alongside Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara among others gave me a taste of what international cricket is all about. Though in the ‘A’ series, the spinners took a majority of the wickets,” Thakur said. “The IPL experience of playing with international cricketers has also come in handy,” he said.
Thakur was not in a mood to reflect back on his past seasons. He has also not thought about the West Indies tour. He is living in the moment and celebrate it with his friends while also making a thanksgiving visit to his coaches.
For someone who has travelled the distance from Palghar to Churchgate in the very early hours in his younger days, for someone who was overweight when he broke into the first-class scene, and who has shed weight to be fit for the demands of today’s cricket, Thakur has a good reason to celebrate the occasion as the news was yet to sink in.
At the same time, he is mature enough to know that the celebrations will not last long and that he has to focus on his task at hand and also live up to former Australian paceman Jeff Thomson’s words when the Australian said: “Shardul is a fantastic bowler and has good skills to succeed at the international level.”
Thakur in first-class cricket:
Best bowling (Innings): 6/53
Best bowling (match): 9/123
5 WI: 9
Thakur in last 3 Ranji seasons:
Season Matches Wickets Average
2015-16 11 41 15.48
2014-15 10 48 20.81
2013-14 6 27 26.25