Shardul was instrumental in India winning the fourth T20I against Sri Lanka and because of his exploits in the game, he was even awarded the man of the match. However, things didn't go as per plan initially in the series for the pacer but since then, he has hit back in stunning style to showcase his enormous physical talent and mental toughness as well.
In his first over of the series, Shardul conceded a whopping 27 runs, which included six successive boundaries off the first six balls of his over. But since then, he has made a good comeback to improve his stats in the series.
In the second T20I against Bangladesh, Shardul ended with figures of 1/25 in four overs and against Sri Lanka on Monday, he registered career-best figures of 4/27. Therefore, since the game where Perera mauled him for 27 runs in his first over, Thakur has taken 5/52 in 8 overs.
Because of exploits in the last T20I, Shardul is now leading the charts as far as wickets are concerned. With five wickets in his kitty, Shardul is the joint-highest wicket-taker of the series along with India's T20 specialist Jaydev Unadkat.
5 – Shardul Thakur & Jaydev Unadkat (IND)
4 – Washington Sundar (IND), Mustafizur Rahman (BAN), Yuzvendra Chahal (IND), Nuwan Pradeep (SL)
3 – Vijay Shankar (IND) & Dushmantha Chameera (SL)
Moreover, Shardul's 4/27 is comfortably the best figures by any bowler from the three teams in the series so far.
4/27 by Shardul Thakur vs SL (12th March)
3/38 by Jaydev Unadkat vs BAN (8th March)
3/48 by Mustafizur Rahman vs SL (10th March)
2/15 by Mahmudullah vs SL (10th March)
2/19 by Akila Dananjaya vs IND (12th March)
Shardul Thakur knows that opportunities in a settled limited overs line-up won't come easily and that's the reason he is ready to "step up" in an unenvious role of India's stop-gap third seamer in absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
"I have told one thing before: I love challenges. I am taking it as a challenge. If other senior bowlers are missing from the team, then I have to step up. I have done this previously for other teams that I have played for. I have come in place of Zaheer Khan, Dhawal Kulkarni and Ajit Agarkar while playing for Mumbai (in Ranji Trophy). I had to step up in that role. When senior bowlers are rested, I have to step up and fill that role to lead the pace attack," Thakur exuded a lot of confidence," said Shardul after helping India win the fourth T20I.
First Published: March 14, 2018, 10:32 AM IST