Shardul Thakur will be popular among franchises when the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction comes around. He has proven his ability to win titles for his side in the IPL and the international arena. He is also a handy lower-order batsman. Kolkata Knight Riders released the Mumbai-based pacer as a part of the team’s restructuring plan for IPL 17. This could be good news for the remaining teams since most are looking for good fast-bowling options.
Thakur’s rise in the IPL has been slow but steady. Currently, he is 30th on the list of the league’s all-time best bowlers with 89 wickets to his name.
Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) bought Shardul Thakur as a promising youngster from Mumbai in 2014. Thakur’s hopes were high, but he wasn’t able to make it to the playing XI in the first season.
His form in the domestic circuit continued to improve. He peaked during the 2015 Ranji Trophy season, where he picked up 41 wickets and emerged as Mumbai’s most successful bowler. He picked up 3 wickets in the first innings and then bowled the spell of his life to take 5 wickets in just 13 overs. The team won the Ranji Trophy that season, and Thakur was earmarked for bigger things. Even this success did little to further Thakur’s chances of becoming a regular in the IPL. He played just one match and didn’t even get to finish his quota of 4 overs.
After emerging as Mumbai’s best bowler again the next season and still being ignored by the Punjab franchise, Thakur took to X (then Twitter) to express his disappointment. The following season, he was released by the franchise. This was the best thing that could happen to his career. In 2017, the Rising Pune Supergiant secured his services, and he played 12 of the team’s 16 matches.
Thakur’s performance at his home ground of Mumbai in the first Qualifier caught everyone’s eye. He picked up 3 wickets to send a strong Mumbai Indians team packing. Since then, he has played every season of the IPL. He came into his own under MS Dhoni’s leadership and had his most successful season in 2021, where he had 21 wickets to his name. Chennai Super Kings went on to win the trophy that season.
He was subsequently sold to the Delhi Capitals for Rs 10.75 Crore in the 2022 season. He claimed 15 wickets in the season, but the team failed to impress and finished at the bottom half of the table. Thakur was released and was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders.
During this time, Thakur’s batting also came into focus. Playing at the team’s home ground of Eden Gardens, Thakur came in when the team was reeling at 89/5 and played a blinder. He scored 68 of 29 balls, his first and only half-century in the IPL. However, his bowling suffered during this time as he could pick up just 7 wickets in the 11 matches he played.
ODI World Cup 2023 stint
Thakur’s loss of form in the IPL also coincided with his loss of form in international cricket. He was a part of the Indian team’s ODI World Cup squad, however, he was dropped from the side in favour of Mohammed Shami. He didn’t get to finish his quota of 10 overs in a single match he played.
The Mumbai player has hit a rough patch as he comes into this auction. But his all-round services will still be highly regarded. He is still among the top Indian pacers in the current set-up. His uncanny ability to pick up wickets when the team needs sets him apart.
Teams that could bid for Shardul Thakur
Chennai Super Kings have Deepak Chahar and Tushar Deshpande to take up opening bowler duties. However, neither of them is as experienced as Shardul Thakur. The all-rounder has also had the most successful stint of his career with CSK. They won the 2018 and 2021 championships together.
Mumbai Indians might also go for the local boy during the auction. They have an excellent Indian bowling option in Jasprit Bumrah, however, they may not want to play Arjun Tendulkar in all the matches. Shardul Thakur will make a good option if they can get him at a bargain price.
Delhi Capitals are also looking to restructure their side ahead of IPL 17. They have a senior bowler in Ishant Sharma. Thakur could split the responsibility of being the team’s experienced pacer with Ishant Sharma and give the team a better balance.
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