Ranchi, Oct. 8: Shardul Thakur failed to make it to India's squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, but the Mumbai medium pacer is determined to shift his focus on the upcoming games as he still has a lot of cricket left in him.
During Hardik Pandya's extensive recovery from injury, Thakur was a regular in India's T20 squad. But a poor economy rate of 9.15 saw him fall down the pecking order and eventually miss out on making it to the national team.
With the world squad in Australia, the bowling all-rounder is currently part of the Shikhar Dhawan-led squad playing in the ongoing ODI series against South Africa. Ahead of the 2nd ODI, Thakur opened up about missing out on a world cup berth.
"Of course, it's a big setback. Every player dreams to play in the World Cup, not just play but win it as well," Thakur said during the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
"It's okay I'm not selected this time. But there's still a lot of cricket left and also there's the ODI World Cup next year. My focus will be to do well in whatever matches I play and make winning contributions," the Mumbai man, who is just two short of completing 100 international wickets across formats, said.
Ahead of the World Cup, set to get underway in Australia, India was dealt a big blow as Jasprit Bumrah, returning from injury, relapsed and was ruled out of the tournament, along with Deepak Chahar, who had been named in the reserves list.
"Injuries are part and parcel of the game, at some point, someone is going to get injured. We should not take it by heart honestly. There is a lot more cricket to come," he said.
Asked if he fancies his chances, the 30-year-old said, "If injuries happen then anyone can come at any point of time. As of now, your responsibility is to be ready whenever and wherever you're asked to play. I will be mentally ready if I'm given a call-up. That's all in my hands."
Thakur further said he is honing his batting skills to make the difference lower down the order, something that was on display in a 66-ball-93 run partnership with Sanju Samson in the first ODI.
Chasing a stiff 250 in 40 overs, India were 51/4 but Sanju Samson (86 not out) and Thakur (33) revived their hopes only to miss out by nine runs. "If you see teams who have done very well at international level, their batting line-up has been quite deep. Like Australia for instance, they have the likes of Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc coming at 8 or 9. Even for that matter England.
"I've been focusing on my batting for quite a long time now. obviously batting at no 7 or the one coming at no 9, if they can contribute it's always great. That gives you a cushion. We also can have our batting lineup deep and make the difference -- the difference of 15-20 runs that can be crucial in winning the match especially in white ball cricket," he said.
Team India's bowling may have copped criticism of late but Thakur said it's unfair as the rival bowlers too are also leaking runs. "It's not fair to criticise only the Indians, even their bowlers are taken to cleaners. We won the T20I series, but they also were slammed.
"I think before questioning the consistency we should see how the wicket was, the conditions. Sometimes in an ODI match more than 350-runs are scored so in that case every bowler got hit.
"There has been no one sided match for India, be it on a batting or a bowling friendly pitch, most have been competitive. We have won most matches and showed consistency," he added.
After losing the first ODI, India will have to win the second ODI of the three-match series against the visitors. The second ODI will get underway on Sunday (Oct. 8) at 1:30pm IST in Ranchi.
Source: Inputs from PTI