As Shardul Thakur bowled his first over in Brisbane, his mind went back to the 2018 Hyderabad Test against the West Indies. Thakur got injured in his second over and sat out the entire match.(More Cricket News)
But this time, Thakur was determined to script a different story. The Mumbai youngster took a big leap from being just a fast bowler to a bowling all-rounder.
Thakur snared seven wickets and was India's top scorer in the first innings, striking 67 while batting at No.8 at Gabba.
And for Thakur scoring against Australian quick bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood was easier than travelling in Mumbai's crowded local trains.
"Getting a seat in a (Mumbai local) train, it required skill and timing. Facing fast bowlers is much easier," Thakur told the Indian Express in an interview.
Shardul Thakur said that during his early days, the pitches in his village Palghar had uneven bounce and matches were played on matting wickets.
"I always enjoy playing fast bowlers, I have never been scared of speed. Am not scared to face even 145 kmph plus. Maybe it’s because of how my cricketing career started. We have a ground in my village where my first few years of cricket were played on matting wickets. The pitch in Palghar had uneven bounce, so handling bounce came naturally to me. At the same time, I faced throwdown specialists regularly in the Indian team nets, so am used to playing pace," Thakur said.
Thakur, along with Washington Sundar, pulled the team out of trouble at the Gabba by conjuring a crucial 123-run stand. The partnership eventually played a key role in the team's historic three-wicket win.
Being away from home first for IPL 2020 in UAE and then on India's tour to Australia, Thakur said he missed his family and being in bio-secure bubble, cut him off from outside world and it was mentally challenging.
"I missed my family, my home cooked food, my bed. When I came today my mother said ki kitna patlaa ho gaya hai tu. Khane ko nahi milta tha kya? It’s a line which any mother says. The day the series ended, I was just hoping that I will reach home soon. Suddenly the flight seemed very long, the drive home took very long too. I just wanted to reach home ASAP," an emotional Thakur said.
The Mumbai pacer said that time between his first Test and the second chance to redeem himself changed him.
"There were two options, either I crib and say, yaar yeh agla mauka kab aayega or just go there and keep working. Keep working was the only option. My father is a farmer and all our life we are taught to keep trying. Keep working hard, keep pushing. Agar ek saal kheti kharaab ho jayega iska matlab yeh nahi ke next time I won’t do farming. Same is in cricket, I will again try," he said.
Explaining how difficult it is to be in bio-bubble, Thakur said, "Everyone can’t get their family on the foreign tour. I left home on August 19 for IPL and from there we went to Australia. It was one of the longest tours and due to the bio bubble we can’t go out. We were totally disconnected with the outside world. Many hotels didn’t have a balcony, so we didn’t get fresh air for days. Staying in a hotel was a challenge but at the same time we were lucky to play cricket in times of Covid."
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