Fantasy Cricket is a game where participants manage their Virtual teams, which means that they are the Owner and the coach of their virtual team. These virtual teams or commonly referred to as Fantasy Teams will compete with such other teams online to see who the winner is. Fantasy cricket helps us to reflect our love as fans for the sport. Fans are always complaining about what player should have been selected for the team. MPL Fantasy Cricket app provides us with the opportunity to showcase our cricket knowledge and earn bragging rights over our peers and friends. In MPL Fantasy cricket we have to create our very own teams and points will be rewarded based on the player’s real-life performances. MPL makes fantasy cricket available for all range of games including international Test and ODI matches to even domestic games.
Shardul Narendra Thakur was born on 16th October 1991 in Palghar, Maharashtra. A promising all-rounder, Thakur’s rise to his current fame shows how much of a hard worker he is. Born in a small town he travelled approximately a hundred kilometres every day to pursue his dream of becoming a top cricket player in Mumbai. He kept on proving his talent and mettle from a very young age when he hit 6 sixes in an over during his school days.
He made his initial first-class debut in 2012 in Jaipur. He had a fairly miserable first season since he picked up only 4 wickets in an equal number of matches and had an average of 82.0. However, things started looking up for Thakur after he improved his physique and worked on his fitness before the 2013-14 Ranji season. He had a very impressive season with 27 wickets with an average of 26.25 in six games and even had one five-wicket haul.
The next season was Shardul’s breakthrough season. He picked up a very impressive 48 wickets in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy with an average of 20.81 in ten games. Among those 48 wickets, he also had five five-wicket hauls to show for. Soon, he was picked up in the 2014 IPL auction. Kings XI Punjab spent 20 lakh on a young Shardul. However, he played only one match for the Punjab franchise his debut against Delhi Daredevils where he had a figure of one wicket in 4 overs conceding 38 runs.
Struggles to make the national team-
Shardul was left in the cold by the national selectors even though he had a very impressive 2014 Ranji season. This performance earned him a callup to the India-A squad. He then played exhibition four-day matches against Australia A and South Africa A. Then he was selected for the Board’s President squad who were meant to play South Africa. He had a very impressive game where he picked up 4 wickets which included major scalps of Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla.
Shardul finally caught the eyes of the selectors when he played the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy final for Mumbai. The performance that he had in the final showed the guts and fight that Shardul had. Shardul managed to pick up 8 wickets in the final and also took the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara with an unplayable delivery. The performance that he had on undoubtedly, the most important match on the Indian domestic cricket calendar, showed that it was high time that the selectors took Shardul for the next tour.
He was then selected for India’s tour of West Indies. Even though he made the 16 man squad, Shardul didn’t play a single match throughout the entire series as the Indian team beat the West Indies team very convincingly with a scoreline of 2-0.
Thakur made his mark in the international scene when he finally made his debut on 31st August 2017. He bowled 7 overs on his debut picking up one wicket and giving away 26 runs as India went out as convincing winners against Sri Lanka.
He, however, got into some controversy though as Thakur wore the number 10 jersey for India becoming the second cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to do so. This raised several comments and created a stir among Indian fans on social media. The BCCI took quick action to deal with this mess by retiring Sachin’s number 10 shirt and giving Thakur jersey number 54.
His T20 debut too wasn’t far away. He was selected to play against South Africa where he had a lukewarm performance by taking 1 wicket and conceding 31 runs in his 4 over quota. India, however, lost the match with South Africa clinching the match with 6 wickets remaining and 8 balls to spare.
Shardul’s big break came during the 2018 Nidahas Trophy, which India managed to win thanks to a heroic fightback by Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar in the final against Bangladesh. Shardul managed to pick up 6 wickets in 5 games averaging 29.33 runs per wicket. He also pocketed a Man of the Match award while India played against Sri Lanka where Thakur managed a career-best figure of 4 wickets for 27 runs.
Shardul now a regular player for the India team made his Test debut against the West Indies. His debut however ended in despair as he had to retire due to suffering from a groin strain in his right leg. He had only bowled 10 balls in the entire match. That test appearance is the only appearance that Thakur has managed for India with the prospect of him getting more appearances in the near future.
A franchise player-
Thakur’s name and popularity were both now increasing with each passing day. He was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiants for the 2018 season of the IPL. Under the guidance of MS Dhoni, Shardul delivered impressive returns for RPS. Thakur picked up 11 wickets in 12 games for the Pune franchise with the best figure of 3 wickets for 19 runs and an average of 28.63 and a run rate of 8.25. Shardul’s fine form in the 2018 season of IPL was one of the major reasons for the quick rise of the Mumbai stalwart.
In the 2018 season of IPL Shardul jumped on to Chennai Super Kings after the team of Rising Pune Supergiants was dissolved. He has played a total of 23 games for CSK in two full seasons of IPL where he has managed to pick up 24 wickets. His figures certainly dropped a bit since his RPS days with Thakur averaging 29.66 and having an economy of 9.28 with his best figures being 2 wickets for 18 runs. Even though his bowling took a bit of a hit, Thakur proved that he could be a handy batsman down the lower order with him amassing a strike rate of 241.66 in the 4 innings he has played so far.
Shardul’s biggest moment for the Chennai franchise has to be the 2019 IPL final. Even though he had a good outing with the ball picking up 2 wickets, Shardul failed to deliver with the bat. He was gonna face the last ball with 2 runs needed to win for CSK but he got out LBW to a Malinga yorker costing CSK to an elusive fourth IPL title in the tournament’s 12-year-old history.
2020 a mixed bag-
Shardul Thakur had been a perennial back up for the Indian team for both 2018 and 2019. However, injuries to possibly India’s two best limited-overs bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvuneshwar Kumar meant that Shardul will finally get his chance to prove his doubters wrong and make a mark on international cricket.
Thakur made a very impressive return showing his mettle and talent. He managed to pick up 5 wickets in the two games played in the series. Such an impressive outing was enough to convince the selectors and Shardul was selected for India’s limited over series against New Zealand. He played all the 5 T20s and the 3 ODIs.
In the T20 series, India managed a total whitewash of New Zealand with a scoreline of 5-0. Even though Thakur managed a super impressive tally of 8 wickets in the 5 matches he played the main question being asked was the number of runs that Shardul was conceding in every match. He conceded 157 runs in the 16 overs he bowled with an economy of 9.81. On the positive side, Shardul was praised for his key breakthroughs. He picked up important wickets of dangerous batsmen like Martin Guptill and also bowled precise and excellent death overs, with him picking up 3 wickets in the 19th over, which resulted in New Zealand slipping up multiple times.
Shardul, however, received heavy criticism from Indian fans after his performance in the ODI series. This time around it was New Zealand who managed to whitewash India by winning the series 3-0. Thakur managed to pick up 4 wickets in the 3 games he played. However, the main question about his bowling spells was the fact that he conceded huge amounts of runs. The New Zealand batsmen capitalized on Thakur and scored 227 runs in Shardul’s bowling with an average of 8.05 per over. He failed to impress with the bat too with a total of 25 runs in the two innings he played.
Shardul has only one goal for 2020 and that is to make the T20 World Cup which will be held in Australia this year. In order to achieve that, Thakur has to perform well in this year’s IPL2020. Under the guidance of Captain Cool, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shardul has proved that he can be an important player for the Chennai team. If Shardul notches up some good performances this season, then a seat will be more or less confirmed for the Mumbai pacer. Shardul’s pace variations make him a very deadly bowler and better performances in future tournaments will seal a permanent spot for the Mumbai pacer in the Indian national team.