The second ODI between India and South Africa will be played in Ranchi — the hometown of former India skipper MS Dhoni. So, it is no surprise that Shardul Thakur was asked about the 2011 World Cup-winning captain when he came to address the media in a press conference on Saturday. All-rounder Shardul spoke about how everyone misses him because of the experience he had.
Dhoni bid farewell to international cricket in 2020 after announcing his retirement on August 15. Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2011 50-over World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy. Under Dhoni, India also reached the final of the 2014 T20 World Cup.
“Everybody misses him because his experience matters a lot. He has played more than 300 ODIs, close to 90 Tests and he played a lot of T20Is as well. So this much-experienced player, it is rare that you come across such an experienced player. We miss him definitely,” said Shardul.
Shardul was also asked about the lack of inconsistency when it comes to India’s bowling. However, the pacer gave a fiery response, saying the opposition bowlers have also been taken to the cleaners and one needs to see the pitch and ground conditions as well when talking about consistency.
“The bowlers who are coming to play here are also being hit for runs. If you look at the T20I series against South Africa and you criticise our bowlers, then you should criticise their bowlers as well because we won the series. Their bowlers were scored off as well. When you ask about someone’s consistency, one should see the pitch conditions,” said Shardul.
“Sometimes we play ODIs, where more than 350 runs are scored. In that case, every bowler will be taken for runs. India have never played a one-sided game; the fight is always there. There is always fight and the matches have been really good. We have lost 1-2 odd matches but we have won the maximum number of games so consistency is there within the team,” added the pacer.
In the first ODI against South Africa, which Team India lost by 9 runs, Shardul returned with two wickets and also made a valuable contribution of 33 runs with the bat.
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“I have been focusing on my batting for a long time now. Obviously, batting at No.7 or 8, or even the one who is coming at No.9, if he can add a few runs for the team, it is always great. It gives you a cushion to defend the total or when you are chasing, it allows the top-order to play freely. Well, that is the difference one can make at No.7,8, or 9,” said Shardul.
“If you see Australia, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc bat at No.8 and 9, even for that matter England, even their batting is deep. So why not India, even we can have our batting line-up deep and make that difference of 15-20 runs in the game,” he added.