It was a crunch game between India and West Indies at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack, and the hosts finally prevailed largely due to the batting efforts of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma which helped them chase down a steep target. But the contribution of Shardul Thakur with the bat, in a tight situation cannot be forgotten. The no 8. Batsman for India in the match slammed 17 from six balls to take the team over the line.
After his match-winning contribution, Thakur told the Indian Express, that it is situations like these that he prepares for which helped him score the winning runs.
“When I was going out to bat, Ravi (Shastri) sir told me to take the responsibility and finish the game. He said, ‘I have the talent to do it’. When I was entering the ground, Virat said it would be better to take a single and give the strike to Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja).
“But fortunately for me, I connected the first ball from the middle of the bat. Jaddu had told me that since the dew had settled, the ball was coming on to the bat nicely. After I hit the first-ball four, the pressure on Jadeja also came down, since the asking rate reduced a bit,” Thakur said.
For Shardul this was not the first time that he had performed with the bat in a crunch situation. In IPL 2018, he had formed a similar partnership with Faf du Plessis and had taken CSK home against SRH.
“I have finished the game in IPL, Faf (du Plessis) was batting with me then. I had hit a four in that game too. The important thing in such situations is to stay on the crease and rotate the strike. I have been in such a situation before, so it helps, as I know what I have to do.”
Thakur goes on to say that Windies bowlers were under pressure, despite taking Kohli’s wicket, because the dew had set in. Also his preparation before the match helped.
“It depends on your preparation. I do prepare in practice sessions. I do match simulation and imagine myself facing a bowler in the match. But to be honest, I have never imagined myself in such a position.
“In school cricket I have been part of such games. I feel things get easy once you are mentally prepared. It’s a pressure game, I feel batsmen are always on top in pressure games. While batting, I realised that the bowlers would be in more pressure than me. There is dew and if the bowlers fail to execute their plans, they will pay the price. I was hoping that the bowler failed so that I could take my chance. There is no point in taking pressure on myself.”
Asked about the feeling of getting back-to-back games after a while, Thakur said, “I was part of the team before, somehow I couldn’t fit into the playing eleven. I played a game in South Africa, later played two games in Sri Lanka. Asia Cup I played one game, I have got breaks between games.
"Positive thing is that I was part of the winning cause. Hopefully, I will get more chances in future. Every cricketer waits for a day like this. This doesn’t happen overnight, a lot of hardwork goes into this. This time it was batting, I hope next time it is bowling,” he concluded.