Harbhajan Singh: Shardul Thakur Can Solve India's Problem Of Finding A Dependable All-rounder After Kapil Dev

Shardul Thakur Can Solve India’s Problem Of Finding A Dependable All-rounder After Kapil Dev: Harbhajan Singh

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Harbhajan Singh, former India off-spinner reckons that Shardul Thakur is capable of solving the team’s woes of finding a dependable all-rounder after Kapil Dev. Harbhajan Singh, who was Shardul Thakur’s teammate at Chennai Super Kings (CSK), however, agreed that the 29-year-old will have to develop both his batting and bowling to do so.

In a short international career, the 29-year-old has made significant contributions to India. He was one of the heroes of the team’s triumph in the Oval Test, scoring half-centuries in both innings and picking up three crucial wickets.

Harbhajan Singh in CSK's colours. (Source: IPL)
Harbhajan Singh in CSK’s colours. (Source: IPL)

Harbhajan Singh: Shardul Thakur Can Solve India’s Problem Of Finding A Dependable All Rounder After Kapil Dev

Discussing Shardul Thakur’s performance, Harbhajan Singh said that the all-rounder’s performance at The Oval will do a lot of good to his confidence.

“See, if he continues to work on his batting and continues to put the hard yards in his bowling, he can solve India’s problem of finding a dependable all-rounder after Kapil Dev. It’s so good to see the way he batted, and it will build his confidence going forward.”

Harbhajan wants Shardul Thakur to bat at no.8 in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) countries, where two spinners are not recommended due to the playing conditions. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) spinner added that the pace all-rounder is capable of doing that.

Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.
Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.

“I would like to see him batting at No 8 and scoring runs consistently for Team India, especially in countries like Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, where you can’t play two spinners and someone needs to bowl too as your main fast bowler and bat also as your No. 5 to 7 batsmen. Shardul is pretty capable of doing that at No 8, where he can score runs and win games for the team.”

Shardul Thakur made two aggressive half-centuries (57 of 36 and 60 of 72), repairing a collapse in the first innings and stamping India’s advantage in the second. He also picked up 3 critical wickets in the game, including that of Joe Root. Shardul Thakur has featured in only 4 Tests so far since debuting in 2018 against the West Indies where he got injured and couldn’t bowl more than 10 balls.
But the Australia tour in 2020/21 gave him another opportunity with several cricketers injured and he did well in both batting and bowling. He has so far amassed 190 runs averaging a decent 38 and picked up 14 scalps averaging an impressive 22.71 in Tests.

Harbhajan Singh: Shardul Thakur Done Well For Mumbai

“He has done well for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy for many years. He’s been a dependable player for them. It’s the right time for him to take his game to the next level, and he’s done exactly that. I don’t think CSK or any other IPL franchise has done wonders to his game. He’s matured with age and time. He’s always been a very good bowler.”

Harbhajan Singh is all smiles after his debut game for KKR BCCI/IPL
Harbhajan Singh is in all smiles after his debut game for KKR BCCI/IPL

Describing him as a fighter, the 41-year-old added that Shardul Thakur has a fighting spirit.

“Whenever I’ve seen him in the Ranji Trophy, (I’ve noted) that he likes to fight. He loves to compete, he wants to win each and every game. Whenever I’ve played with him, he wants to be the centre of attraction by doing well with the bat and/or ball. That comes naturally. You can’t inject someone with that quality.”

Harbhajan Singh picked up 417 scalps by playing 103 Tests and 269 scalps playing 236 ODIs. He also picked up 25 scalps from 28 T20Is. His last Test and ODI came in 2015 and his last T20I came in 2016.

Since 2012, Harbhajan Singh has been mostly in and out of the side with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja firming up as the lead spinners in Tests. Harbhajan Singh was restricted to the odd comeback, notably in the 2015-16 season where he played a few Tests and a handful of ODIs apart from getting a chance in the 2016 World T20 as well.

Since 2016, he hasn’t played for India in any format and it’s unlikely that he will ever again. Although yet to officially announce retirement, his career is all but over.

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