Aakash Chopra has pointed out that Shardul Thakur is fulfilling the all-rounder’s role that Hardik Pandya was expected to perform for the Indian team.
Shardul has been Team India’s standout player in the ongoing second Test against South Africa. The seam-bowling all-rounder followed up his seven-wicket haul in the hosts’ first innings with an enterprising 28-run knock in India’s second essay with the bat, apart from providing the first breakthrough during the Proteas’ run chase.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra lauded Shardul for making up for Hardik Pandya’s absence. He said:
“Shardul Thakur is doing what we were expecting from Hardik Pandya, honestly speaking, for a lack of a better example. We were repeatedly looking towards Hardik, that he will bowl and score runs with the bat.”
While acknowledging that the two all-rounders have different strengths, the cricketer-turned-commentator appreciated the commitment shown by Shardul. Chopra explained:
“Of course, there is no comparison between Shardul and Hardik’s batting. Hardik is way above Shardul in terms of batting but there is commitment, he is scoring runs. Shardul’s bowling is much better than Hardik’s. Important runs, important wickets and totally entertaining. I love Shardul Thakur to bits.”
Pandya was ruled out of the Test series against South Africa due to recurring back issues. The batting all-rounder does not even figure in Team India’s squad for the upcoming ODI series against the Proteas.
“This is incredible” – Aakash Chopra on Shardul Thakur’s performance in the Johannesburg Test
Aakash Chopra highlighted that the significance of Shardul’s second-innings knock might only be known at the end of the match. He observed:
“The job Thakur Sahab has done, this is incredible. First, he took seven wickets and after that, the 28 runs he scored off just 24 balls. You might not have realized the importance of those 28 runs yesterday but you will do it today because only 122 are left.”
The 44-year-old concluded by saying that the short but sweet knock bailed Team India out of a precarious situation. Chopra elaborated:
“If he had not made those 28, then probably 80 and not 122 would have been left. The partnership with Hanuma Vihari would not have been there and India would have been in a huge spot of bother.”
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Team India were staring down the barrel when they were reduced to a score of 184/6 in their second innings. Shardul’s 24-ball 28 and Hanuma Vihari’s fighting unbeaten 40 then helped the KL Rahul-led side set a decent fourth-innings target for South Africa.
Q. Will Shardul Thakur take 3+ wickets in South Africa’s second innings?
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