Rising out of the cricketing backwaters of Palgarh,
Maharashtra, Shardul Thakur’s journey to Mumbai cricket (literally and
metaphorically) and subsequently to the national side, has been one of hard work and perseverance.

An up and coming name now in all formats – having recently
made Test debut in team India’s Australia tour a couple of months back – Thakur’s
performance has grown leaps and bounds over the years, culminating into who he
is now.

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The young pacer’s debut season for Mumbai in the Ranji trophy
saw his side winning the league, a regular occurrence. Thakur’s stats, however,
were not similarly impressive, having picked up a paltry four wickets in four

A constant remaking of himself as an athlete, as well as honing
his bowling skills, saw success coming the fast bowler’s way really soon. The
result was at hand: 27 wickets in just six games, and even further
improvement in the 2014/2015 season, picking up a total of 48 wickets in 10 games.

His call-up to the national side in 2016, however, came by
the dint of his performance in 2015 Ranji Trophy final. Bowling out Cheteshwar
Pujara in the match through what seemed like an unplayable delivery, Thakur
made his intentions clear.

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Interestingly, Thakur’s bowling is not what India could boast of in its pacers all this while. Lateral seam movement, as well as added
bounce makes him very difficult to play at times. This quality makes him useful
in particular in green tops of English or Australian pitches, and can possibly be
useful for the longer Test format too.

Add to this the advantage of being a decent batsman, and Indian
fans would have reason enough to get excited about their future prospects.