Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Htpunjab - Ni­lankur Das ni­ ■

HY­DER­ABAD: When coach Ravi Shas­tri handed the cap to Shardul Thakur 15 min­utes be­fore the toss on Fri­day, the Mum­bai medium-pacer must have felt on top of the world as team­mates hugged and con­grat­u­lated him. He be­came the third player in as many Tests to de­but for In­dia af­ter Hanuma Vi­hari in Southamp­ton and Prithvi Shaw in Ra­jkot.

But un­like Shaw and Vi­hari’s mem­o­rable de­buts, Thakur’s turned out to be rather for­get­table, at least for the time be­ing. Just like Lionel Messi’s in­ter­na­tional de­but in a friendly against Hun­gary in 2005 that lasted all of 43 sec­onds be­fore he was given the march­ing or­ders for an el­bow on a de­fender, the Mum­bai quickie’s con­tri­bu­tion on Day One of the sec­ond Test against West Indies here lasted all of 10 balls.

In the fourth over of the West Indies in­nings, the right-arm medium pacer, who was brought into the XI in place of Mo­ham­mad Shami, “felt a sud­den pain in the right groin area” and left the field, the na­ture of the in­jury sug­gest­ing a lack of proper warmup be­fore the start of play. R Ash­win had to be in­tro­duced early as he bowled the re­main­ing two de­liv­er­ies. Thakur’s fig­ures read 1.4-0-9-0. He was taken for a scan to as­sess dam­age.

Had Shardul been there, it would have been more help for the spin­ners. But you can’t re­ally do much. We were bowl­ing with one pacer. UMESH YADAV, In­dia bowler


On Septem­ber 20, Thakur was sent back home from the Asia Cup in Dubai af­ter he com­plained of a right hip and groin sore­ness af­ter the game against Hong Kong and was re­placed by Sid­dharth Kaul. Thakur then played for Mum­bai against Pun­jab in a Vi­jay Hazare Tro­phy match on Septem­ber 28 bag­ging three wick­ets. And now he is out again for the same in­jury.

The pacer from Pal­ghar dis­trict of Ma­ha­rash­tra had waited in the side­lines for the past two years, his first call-up com­ing on In­dia’s tour of the West Indies in 2016.He has played five ODIs and seven T20s and is also part of the 14-mem­ber squad for the first two ODIs against the West Indies.

Thakur, who be­gan his ca­reer as a bulky leg-spin­ner who could bat, be­came a medium-pacer later and un­der­went a rig­or­ous fit­ness regime to lose weight. Af­ter an or­di­nary first Ranji sea­son in 2012-13, Thakur re­turned with 27 wick­ets in the next.


Shardul Thakur.

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