‘His numbers are as good as any top player’: Zaheer Khan names ‘silent hero’ of India’s T20I win against England

India’s impressive T20I series win against England could be associated with several brilliant individual performances from the home team. Virat Kohli leading from the front and scoring three half-centuries and promoting him as opener in the decider on Saturday, Ishan Kishan scoring a masterful fifty on debut, Suryakumar Yadav doing so in his maiden innings for India, or some terrific all-rounder show from Hardik Pandya. Even Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s return that saw him take five wickets at a lowly economy rate deserved plenty of credit for the way the series panned out in favour of the home team.

But for former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan, one player who has quietly gone about his business and been responsible for India winning the series is Shardul Thakur. Zaheer reckons the confidence of the Brisbane Test in Australia has completely changed the fast bowler’s outlook towards his game, saying Thakur currently is in a good headspace, due to which the results are pretty visible.

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“Shardul Thakur, if you’ve noticed… there are so many big names in this Indian cricket team, so much of flamboyance. In all of that, this player is doing his job silently. He’s the silent hero of this series. His numbers are as good as any top player,” Zaheer said in a video on Cricbuzz.

Thakur picked up six wickets in the series, including three-wicket-hauls in the fourth and fifth T20I. In the fourth game, with Ben Stokes looking set to take the match away from India, Thakur dismissed him and England captain Eoin Morgan off successive deliveries to tilt the match in India’s favour. Later, in the series decider on Saturday, Thakur dismissed the dangerous Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow in the same over to give India the advantage. Zaheer believes Thakur’s confidence is on a high and has backed the India pcaer to do well in any circumstances.

“Ever since the Australia series, I have seen a big change in his thinking and body language. Even if you look at him carefully in the field, his confidence is sparkling. When you are playing international cricket for long, it usually takes people time to understand their game and prolong his career, but Thakur is already at a stage where he knows what’s best for him and what he needs to avoid. Put him in any situation and he will thrive,” Zaheer explained.

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