Background image

Shardul Thakur credits Mohammed Siraj for win in 2nd ODI vs Zimbabwe

Shardul Thakur's 3/38 in seven overs set up the Men in Blue's victory over Zimbabwe in the second One-Day International (ODI) on Saturday at Harare Sports Club. However, Thakur said it was a team effort that led to the win. He particularly credited Mohammed Siraj's performance.

Zimbabwe was bowled out for under 200 runs for the second time in a row earlier in the game. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, and Deepak Hooda each managed to take one wicket in the absence of Deepak Chahar, who was replaced in the playing 11 by Thakur.

Shardul was the most successful bowler on Saturday, taking three wickets, dismissing Innocent Kaia, Regis Chakabva, and the dangerous Sean Williams in seven overs to finish with figures of 3-38.

Following the game, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted a video of Siraj interviewing Thakur on social media, where the latter can be seen praising the former.

“Lord, you didn't play in the first match, so what was your plan for the second game?” Siraj asked Thakur.

Thakur responded to the question by describing how he first took cues from Siraj by carefully observing his line and lengths.

“Before I came in first change, I noticed the line and length you bowled and tried to execute the same. I just tried to figure out the difficulties for batters. I tried to keep things simple, nothing else," Thakur said.

Siraj then asked Thakur how he always managed to provide breakthroughs every time he came to bowl.

“I am always looking for wickets, and god is also kind that I am picking up wickets. If I take wickets, it will obviously be beneficial for the team, Thakur answered.”

Siraj in 2nd ODI vs Zimbabwe

In the two games in Harare, Siraj finished the first ODI with figures of 1-36, while the second ODI saw him finish with an impressive 1-16 in 8 overs.

Siraj maintained the ball in the off-stump channel, causing late swing problems for Zimbabwe batters.

In the ninth over, opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano edged Sanju Samson for a one-handed stunner, resulting in Siraj's first breakthrough after catching Kaitano from behind.

The bowler said the positive "atmosphere" created by skipper KL Rahul resulted in the series victory.

"First of all, thank you so much, we have won the series. The atmosphere is extremely good. KL [Rahul] bhai gives a lot of freedom to the bowlers, so the atmosphere is very good," he said.

"I am enjoying my bowling a lot because I had the outswing from earlier but I was not too confident about it. Now I have worked more on the seam and I have got the confidence as well, and you must have been seeing that it is releasing nicely from my hand. I was bowling with that rhythm only."

Siraj also emphasized the role of VVS Laxman, who serves as the team's head coach in Rahul Dravid's absence.

"Laxman sir was part of Sunrisers Hyderabad [in IPL] when I was selected for the first time. He understands my skills and gives me a lot of confidence, and it feels good when a coach is around," he said.

With the series already won, the Men in Blue will be aiming for a clean sweep against Zimbabwe when they take the field for the third and final time today.

The 28-year-old Siraj will play for Warwickshire for the remainder of the 2022 County Championship season. This season, he is the sixth Indian player to sign by a county team.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.