Team India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun feels Shardul Thakur has proved his credentials as a Test all-rounder after his exploits in Australia. Arun believes it is up to the selectors to unearth the next breed of all-rounders, but reiterated that Shardul Thakur is firmly in the reckoning.
Shardul Thakur broke into the Indian side as a bowler but has since impressed with the bat on several occasions. His contribution with the willow during the historic Gabba Test, combined with his performances in the recent India vs England series, has made Thakur a solid option in the lower-order.
In an interaction with PTI, Bharat Arun praised Shardul Thakur for his exploits with both bat and ball.
“It is more of a selectors’ job to find them and then we can develop those all-rounders. Shardul Thakur has proved he can be an all-rounder. What he did in Australia was fabulous,” Arun said.
Shardul Thakur is part of the red-ball squad for the World Test Championship Final and the subsequent Test series against England. He is the only viable option when it comes to playing a seamer who can bat down the order. Bharat Arun admitted India need to step up their search for more such players.
“Yes (we need to develop a seam bowling all-rounder), there must be a few (in domestic cricket) because we are always on the circuit with the Indian team. We have not had an opportunity to look at the domestic all-rounders,” Arun added.
Bharat Arun admits Hardik Pandya’s Test comeback will be tough
India’s dearth of seam bowling all-rounders in the longest format of the game is mainly due to Hardik Pandya’s struggles with injury. The all-rounder was first choice when India toured England in 2018 but has failed to play a Test since then. Bharat Arun admits India need to manage Hardik Pandya’s workload, since the 27-year old has been struggling with back and shoulder injuries in recent years.
“I wish you could just wish and develop bowlers like that. Hardik is an outstanding talent. Unfortunately he had to undergo a back operation and then it’s not very easy to come back after that. He bowled against England, I thought he did a really good job. But to sustain that, we need to manage him well and build on his strength,” Arun concluded.
Although Hardik Pandya’s Test prospects seem to dwindle due to his inability to bowl, he has still proven to be an outstanding asset in white-ball cricket. He will look to build on his fitness with the India vs Sri Lanka series in July, as he is set to be India’s premier all-rounder during the T20 World Cup later this year.