Kolkata: Star all-rounder Shardul Thakur on Tuesday allayed concerns over his fitness, saying he has been under bowled in the IPL due to the abundance of all-rounders in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad.
Speaking to PTI, the World Test Championship final-bound Indian cricketer said there’s no injury issue with him and his team full of all-rounders did not ”need” his service.
”We have a side full of all-rounders with (Andre) Russell, Sunil (Nairne)… We have got maximum of eight bowling options that also includes Nitish (Rana) who also bowls an over or two nowadays,” Thakur said.
Thakur, who did not play three matches this season due to a niggle, has bowled just 89 balls (14.5 overs) in six matches, returning with four wickets.
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He was not bowled in two of the eight matches he played, and in batting too he was used sparingly as it is clearly evident that the team seemed to be managing his workload ahead of the marquee WTC summit clash against Australia at the Oval next month.
In their match against Punjab Kings here on Monday, KKR used up seven bowling options and looked woefully inexperienced in the pace department but Thakur was not bowled.
The rookie duo of Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana leaked 36 runs in the last two overs as PBKS managed to score 179/7.
As it turned out KKR survived some anxious moments in the chase before Andre Russell and Rinku Singh pulled off a last-ball victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Thakur was seen coming as a batter at the non-striking end in the last delivery when Rinku sealed the chase with a boundary.
”It also depends on the situation of the game, if the captain feels the need to bowl me or not bowl me completely depends on him. As far as teams’ strategy decision making is concerned, I would not pay attention to it a lot.” ”I had a small niggle, so I didn’t play a few games, when I came back, I didn’t bowl as I was not bowling-fit. But yes, now I’m back to bowling and hopefully whenever I get the ball, I will get the job done,” said Thakur.
Thakur did not answer queries on the WTC final and also did not reveal whether he was practising with the red Dukes ball which would be used for the summit clash.
Being an all-rounder is a difficult task and the 31-year-old is fully aware of it.
”It is difficult and not easy. It’s difficult in the sense body-wise, because when you go in for practice, you literally have to do everything — fielding practice, bowl and bat. On top of that you have to do a bit of running around to stay fit. ”Overall, it’s not easy but yeah that’s the challenge in modern day’s cricket that you have to manage your body to stay fit and keep going,” he said.
Thakur had played a 29-ball 68 to inspire KKR to a comprehensive 81-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first phase of the tournament. On his evolution as a batter, he said: ”I always try to contribute with the bat whenever I get an opportunity. Obviously, I succeed and fail on fewer occasions. But that’s completely part and parcel of the game.”
Asked his favourite batting position, he said: ”There is no preferred number, whenever the team asks me to bat I’m ready to do it. In fact, in a game like T20 I’m ready to bat at any position.
”I padded up in a lot of games and they could have sent me at any position. In fact I had padded up to go at No 3 against Punjab Kings. The T20 game is such that you need to be ready at any given position.
”Overall, I’m enjoying my time at KKR. We come up with different ideas and strategies against the team, against individual batters. But it all depends how bowlers are executing their skills in the middle.” Thakur further said KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit is back to his natural style of coaching.
”I’ve a good rapport with him (Pandit). Obviously, it’s the first year in IPL for him, so he’s also learning a lot about the nature of this tournament.
”As the tournament progressed he’s really come out strong and back to his natural instinct and natural style of coaching. That’s what makes him different from others,” Thakur added.