Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur

After playing just two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka, Mumbai speedster Shardul Thakur was dropped from the five-match ODI home series against Australia staring this Sunday. The Palghar-born pacer was however included in the India 'A' team for the limited-overs series against New Zealand 'A'.

Asked whether Shardul's exclusion would hamper his frame of mind, former Mumbai Ranji Trophy team coach Chandrakant Pandit felt the bowler should be ready to be in and out of the team. "Shardul has the ability to prove himself at the top level. His future is bright. There is tough competition for fast bowlers in the Indian team and Shardul needs to be mentally fit to overcome such situations. He should work hard and grab the opportunity with both hands whenever he gets a chance," Pandit, a former India stumper told mid-day yesterday.

Chandrakant Pandit
Chandrakant Pandit

Shardul, 25, who has taken 169 first-class wickets in 49 matches, emerged with figures of one for 26 in his seven-over spell on ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Colombo last month. India won by 168 runs. In his next ODI, Shardul went wicketless, going for 42 runs.

Pandit advised Shardul to raise his level of bowling to match pacers like Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bhumrah and Mohammed Shami. "Shardul needs to raise the bar with his bowling and should keep himself fit to compete against other India pacers. While playing at the international level, he should be more disciplined in his bowling. He is an outstanding fielder and can bat well. He should concentrate on batting too. We have very few all-rounders and Shardul has the ability to be a good all-rounder," Pandit added.

Asked about Shardul's biggest strength, Pandit said: "He has good pace and movement. He is a wicket-taking bowler and because of his aggression, he tries out different things. As he will play more matches at the highest level, he will learn how to plan to get different batsmen out, but right now, it is very important to give him confidence and groom him for the future," said Pandit.