Meet Team India’s ‘Magician’

Captain Rohit Sharma was effusive in his praise for Shardul Thakur, whose crucial strikes in the middle overs were instrumental in India’s 90 run victory against New Zealand in the third ODI in Indore on Tuesday to clinch the series 3-0.

Thakur also scored a vital 25 from 17 balls, putting on 54 runs for the seventh wicket with Hardik Pandya (54) to boost India’s scoring in the final overs, while taking 3/45 including two wickets in an over to derail New Zealand’s run chase.

Rohit revealed that team-mates call Thakur ‘magician’ for his ability to break partnerships. He took six wickets in the three-match series against New Zealand to put himself in contention for a place in the Indian team for the ODI World Cup later this year.

“We bowled pretty well, stuck to our plans and held our nerve. Shardul has been doing it for a while. Team-mates call him a magician and he came and delivered yet again. He just needs to get more games under his belt,” Rohit said after the match.

“He has got the knack of taking wickets at the crucial time for us. We have seen it not just in ODI cricket, but also in Tests. He’s very critical to us, and where we stand as a team.

“I just hope he keeps putting up performances like this and it will only do good to the team and give him confidence that he can come and take wickets.

“This guy is very smart, he has played a lot of domestic cricket and understands what needs to be done,” the India skipper added.

Opener Shubman Gill, who scored a record 360 runs in the series — hitting a double century and a hundred — was named the player of the series.

“Gill’s approach is quite similar in every game. He doesn’t carry any emotional baggage from his previous innings and wants to start afresh every game,” said Rohit.

“For a youngster still finding his feet in international cricket, it is a great attitude to have,” the skipper added.

“He could have taken things lightly, but he is cut from a different cloth.”

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