Former Indian selector, Saba Karim reckons that Shardul Thakur has been added to India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup because they would need a strong backup for Hardik Pandya, considering the latter’s recurring fitness concerns in teh last few months. Shardul has been one of the top players in IPL 2021 with 18 wickets so far from 15 games at 27.16 and a strike rate of 18.61.
Shardul Thakur’s contributions to the Chennai Super Kings have been instrumental in the team’s campaign this season. CSK entered their 9th IPL final and will be locking horns with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the summit clash on October 15.
During the Khelneeti podcast, Saba Karim said, “Shardul has been brought up because the selectors wanted a backup for Hardik Pandya in case the need arises. Thakur deserves it. If Hardik misses out at some stage due to fitness issues, then Shardul might take his spot in the Indian side.”
Notably, Thakur replaced Axar Patel in the 15-member final squad for the forthcoming T20 WC. The southpaw spinner has now been added to the list of standby players, which also includes Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar. However, Saba Karim pointed out that it was a harsh call to drop Axar Patel from the T20 World Cup squad despite his good form in the IPL this year.
Describing the same, Saba Karim explained, “There were discussions about what the team would do by having so many spinners in the squad. But it is still harsh for someone like Axar Patel to get dropped as he has been in good form.”
Karim asserted that Hardik Pandya is a match-winner and a great asset for the team even when if he fails to contribute with his bowling.
Saba Karim said, “Hardik Pandya is a wonderful match-winner, there is no doubt about that. He is a good batting all-rounder. I think there is still time, and if he starts bowling, he will be a great asset for the team as the sixth bowling option. That is why he was selected for the team.”