Irfan Pathan: Shardul Thakur's emergence as death bowler is a big positive
"We have found another death bowler in Shardul Thakur because we always wondered who could do that job in a case [Jasprit] Bumrah is not available," said Irfan Pathan.
Hamilton: Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes that one of the biggest positives for Team India in their T20I whitewash of New Zealand here is the emergence of Shardul Thakur as a reliable death bowler.
"One of the most heartening aspects of India's T20I series win here is that we have found another death bowler in Shardul Thakur because we always wondered who could do that job in a case [Jasprit] Bumrah is not available. India's pace bowling unit was outstanding thoughout. Right from seniors like [Mohammed] Shami to the junior-most [Navdeep] Saini gelled," Pathan, 35, who is here on TV commentary duty, told mid-day recently.
While Thakur got the most wickets (eight in five matches at 19.62) in the five-match T20I series, Saini was quite economical in the two matches he played (economy rate 6.50). If the bowlers can carry their form into the ODI series beginning today, captain Virat Kohli's job will become a lot easier, felt Pathan, who represented India in 24 T20I, 120 ODIs and 29 Tests for India, claiming 28, 178 and 100 wickets respectively.
"India's bench strength is amazing now and credit must be given to the selectors as well as the team management. It looks like the players are already established and don't take any time to acclimatise. Look at Saini, who is playing in New Zealand for the first time. He looked like he was thoroughly prepared," said Pathan, who was speaking a day before Rohit Sharma was ruled out for the remainder of the series due to a calf injury.
Asked to predict the scoreline of the ODI series, Pathan had no doubts that the hosts would struggle to win even one ODI. "I expect a similar whitewash in the ODI series though I feel that the Test matches will be a bit more competitive. In white-ball cricket, I don't think the hosts have enough resources to challenge India," he concluded.
If India are without Rohit, then New Zealand too have lost their most influential player, Kane Williamson due to injury, meaning Pathan's prediction could well come true.
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