Tarouba (Trinidad): With his performance in West Indies, Shardul Thakur has made a strong case for his selection in India’s World Cup squad, even as the seam-bowling all-rounder looks to keep “contributing” instead of focusing on sealing his place.
Shardul turned out to be the most successful bowler in the ODI series against the West Indies, picking up eight wickets from three games with a best bowling figures of 4/37 in the decider here on Tuesday.
The ODI World Cup will be held in India from October 5 to November 19, and the team management is looking to give opportunities to players to cement their places ahead of the showpiece.
“I am happy to have picked up eight wickets in this series. As a cricketer we wait for this opportunity for years, sometimes you perform, sometimes not.
“Whichever series I play that always boost my confidence because I am only adding experience to my career,” Shardul said after the match.
“I never think that I have to play to seal my spot because I can’t play with that mentality and I am not that type of player.
“If I am not picked in the World Cup squad it’s their call, I cannot do much about it. I always try to perform for the team and play according to the situation of a match.” Shardul, a right-arm seamer who bats lower down the order, feels he has a role to play and that is why he has been a regular in the ODI squad in the last two years.
“I think I didn’t play one one-day series, I mean I was not part of the team in the series against Sri Lanka at home. I don’t know why I wasn’t picked then but I have been part of all other ODI series in the last 2 years.
“I think the team expects something from me so I have been kept in the team. Whenever I get a chance to play, I feel the team has confidence in me so they gave me the chance to play,” he said.
“If you look in the last few years we tend to play with a deep batting line-up, so as an all-rounder who bats lower down the order, my job also becomes important. That role is very crucial.
“Whenever I get an opportunity I try to contribute to the team’s success whether it’s with bat, ball or in fielding. At the end of the day I should be happy that I have made an effort, my performances should be impactful whichever department it is,” he added.
Shardul believes that every game from here is important for India ahead of the World Cup.
“With World Cup coming up every game that you play is going to be important from the team’s perspective. In batting, bowling and fielding departments, you are going to judge yourself, you are going to score some marks for yourself.
“Also the team management will be looking at you, there will be few players who will be looking at selection as well. For us individually also all games that we play before the World Cup are important,” he said.
Talking about the series-deciding ODI, Shardul said it was a complete performance from the team, and especially praised Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill for their batting exploits.
“In the last match, as a group, we had decided that we will bat first and challenge ourselves how much we can score batting first and then defend that score. It didn’t materialise in the last match but, in today’s match, we put up a good score.
“Shubman and Ishan batted very well in powerplay. They gave us a strong start and that’s why we can put on a big score,” said the bowler, who is also called ‘Palghar Express’.
“We expected a strong fight from West Indies but Mukesh Kumar (3/30) bowled a fine opening spell with the new ball. The first three wickets were crucial. We bowled as a unit.” Yuzvendra Chahal didn’t play a single match in the tour so far, but Shardul believes the leg-spinner is a proven performer. “Chahal is a very good player, he has performed for years and proved himself. But whether to play him or not is the management’s decision.
“The sort of player he is whenever he will play he will perform. He picks up wickets in every match that he plays. I don’t think he will be demoralised by not playing one series,” he said.
The T20 leg of the tour will start here on Thursday.