Young Indian pacer Shardul Thakur on Tuesday said that England cricket team is the favourite to win the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup as it is scheduled to take place in the English nation.
“They are obviously favourites because these are their home conditions. England know them better how to play cricket here, so other teams have a big challenge to play here. They have played well against Australia recently and now against us, so it will be difficult to beat them. But when we do come back (for the World Cup) we will be all geared up,” Shardul Thakur said at the post-match press conference.
Thakur also said that it is never easy to come off the bench and perform straight away in high-pressure games, and he too felt the heat in the third and last ODI against England on Tuesday.
Shardul had replaced Siddarth Kaul in the series decider as Virat Kohli went for a new-look pace attack in the last game at the Leeds on Tuesday, but ended up losing the game by eight wickets, thanks to Joe Root’s 13th ODI hundred. Thakur ended with figures of 51 for one in 10 overs.
“I played the last game in South Africa when we had won that series, and it wasn’t a necessary win for us. Playing this game, I was obviously a bit nervous because it is the series’ decider. When you are put under pressure, it’s a player’s responsibility to put forward your A-game. Sometimes the results go your way, sometimes they don’t,” Thakur said after the loss on Tuesday.
“When given the opportunity in a one-off game my mindset is always to win the game for the team when I step on the field. While playing this game, it was the same. Also when I am put in different teams, whether I am put in India-A or in domestic cricket, it is always the same,” he said.
India were restricted to 256-8 after being put into bat, and Thakur along with the rest of the bowling attack lacked penetration against Root and Eoin Morgan who put on an unbeaten 186-run partnership for the third wicket.
It means that India, who won the T20I series 2-1, have now lost the ODI series by the same margin. The five-Test series begins in Birmingham on August 1.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost this game. If you see overall we have done quite well. Keeping the World Cup in mind, which is next year, I think whatever batsmen have learnt from this T20 series and ODIs will be useful,” Thakur said, adding, “How to bat in these conditions and for bowlers how to bowl in these conditions, I think it is very important. And going forward in this year’s cricket, whichever games we play, I think our team would execute what we want to do”.
The Men in Blue did have their chances in the game when Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan put on 71 runs for the second wicket. But the latter’s run-out led to a middle-order collapse that saw India placed at 158/5 and never recovering after that.
Thakur said English batsmen negotiated Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav quite well when faced with a below-par target.
“Shikhar and Virat were going really strong. If they had continued to bat till 40th over, maybe it would have been different and we could have put up 300. The wickets we lost in the middle overs made the difference,” said Thakur.
“England played really well against Kuldeep. If you saw the pitch, it had changed and got slower. They were playing spin easily on the backfoot and taking singles. So they played them very well,” he added.
-With PTI inputs.