INJURY MARS DEBUT: SHARDUL BOWS OUT AFTER 10 DELIVERIES
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.