Shardul Thakur has been in and out of the Indian team over the past few years but the lack of consistent run hasn’t dented his determination to do well whenever Virat Kohli hands him the ball.
The 29-year-old, who did not play in the first two ODIs, made an instant impact in the final game with a three-wicket haul that included the key wicket of an in-form Steve Smith.
Asked if he is frustrated at not getting enough chances, the 29-year-old from Maharashtra’s Palghar said that he focussed on playing to win whenever he gets a chance.
“The selection is not in my hands. It is important is that I try to win games for India whenever I play. That is my mindset,” Thakur said at the post-match press conference after India’s 13-run win.
Since his international debut in 2017, Thakur has played 27 international white-ball games.
“I play to win. I don’t think that I am getting just one match or I am playing as a replacement of an injured player. Once you are on ground, all players just focus on wining matches,” added Thakur, who has played only 12 ODIs in more than three years.
India will now lock horns with the hosts in the Twenty20 series but Thakur is not part of the squad and he is taking it in his stride.
“The team was selected long back. I was not part of the T20 squad, so I was not thinking about it.”
Speaking about the match, Thakur said he relished dismissing Steve Smith.
“Everyone wants to win. The plan was to bowl on stumps. He is their top player, getting him early was huge... Important was to bowl our lengths consistently. The Australian have played a lot of cut and pull shots. I just tried to keep them off those shots and made them play straighter and it worked for me,” he said of his game plan.
Thakur also said that absence of David Warmer also worked in India’s favour.
“To be honest, David Warner was not playing. It was a good opportunity for us to put them on the back foot and try to win this game, take advantage of the situation.
Thakur was all praise for T Natarajan who made his debut on Wednesday. He was taken to cleaners in the beginning but made a strong comeback.
“He has done well in IPL, executed a lot of yorkers. He came back well that shows he has got a big character. We need players like him. In white ball (format) you are going to get hit. What is important is you come back, develop the confidence and take it from there.”
For the world, it is a 1-2 series defeat but Thakur said that India are looking at it as a six-match white ball series.
“We are looking it as a six-match series instead of three match ODIs. From now on, we can exploit the conditions as boys are getting used to it (conditions).”
“There are three upcoming T20 games and hopefully the Indian team can carry this momentum into the Twenty20 series,” he added.
Watch the full interview here
With PTI Inputs