Which made the situation more confusing when KKR didn’t even use him against the Punjab Kings at Eden Gardens on Monday, despite their pace department looking woefully inexperienced.
But Thakur doesn’t seem to mind not having regular bowling opportunities, saying he’s been underestimated in the IPL due to the abundance of versatile players in the KKR team.
Speaking to PTI, the Indian cricketer who will take part in the World Test Championship final said there is no injury problem with him and his team full of versatile players have no “ need” of his services.
“We have a team full of all-round players with (Andre) Russell, Sunil (Nairne)… We have a maximum of eight bowling options which also includes Nitish (Rana) who also plays one or two these days,” said said Thakur. .
Thakur, who hasn’t played three matches this season due to a problem, has thrown just 89 balls (14.5 overs) in six matches, returning with four wickets.
He hasn’t played in two of the eight games he’s played, and at bat too he’s been used sparingly as it’s clearly evident the team seemed to be managing their workload heading into the top-flight clash. WTC against Australia at the Oval next month.
The rookie duo of Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana lost 36 runs in the final two overs as PBKS managed to score 179/7.
Turns out KKR survived anxious moments in the hunt ahead of Andre Russell and Rinku Singh picked up a last-ball win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Thakur was seen coming as a non-hitting end hitter on the final delivery when Rinku sealed the chase with a boundary.
“It also depends on the situation of the game, whether the captain feels the need to kick me off or not, it’s entirely up to him. As for the teams’ strategic decision-making, I wouldn’t pay much attention to that. . “
“I had a little problem so I didn’t play a few games, when I came back I didn’t bowl because I wasn’t fit. But yeah, now I’m back at bowling and I hope every time I get the ball I will get the job done,” Thakur said.
Thakur did not respond to questions about the WTC Finals nor did he reveal if he was training with the Dukes red ball that would be used for the summit clash.
Being versatile is a tough job and the 31-year-old is fully aware of that.
“It’s hard and not easy. It’s hard on the body, because when you train you literally have to do everything – field training, bowl and bat. On top of that, you have to do a little to run to stay in shape.
“Overall it’s not easy but yeah it’s the challenge of modern cricket that you have to manage your body to stay fit and keep going,” he said.
Thakur had played a 68-29 ball to inspire KKR to a comprehensive 81-point victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first phase of the tournament.
On his evolution as a hitter, he said: “I always try to contribute with the bat every chance I get. Obviously I succeed and I fail less often. But that’s completely part and parcel Game.”
Asked about his preferred hitting position, he said: “There is no preferred number, whenever the team asks me to hit I am ready to do it. In fact, in a game like T20, I am ready to strike at any position.
“I padded in many games and they could have sent me to any position. In fact, I had padded to go to No. 3 against the Punjab Kings. The T20 game is such you have to be ready for any position.
“Overall, I’m enjoying my time at KKR. We come up with different ideas and strategies against the team, against individual hitters. But it all depends on how the bowlers execute their skills in the middle.”
Thakur further said that KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit has returned to his natural coaching style.
“I have a good relationship with him (Pandit). Obviously it’s the first year in the IPL for him, so he’s also learning a lot about the nature of this tournament.
“As the tournament went on, he really came out strong and came back to his natural instincts and his natural coaching style. That’s what makes him different from the rest,” Thakur added.
(With PTI inputs)