From top to bottom, the current Indian cricket team is full of match-winners. In fact, the current Indian team’s bench strength is so powerful that even with a second-string playing XI, they can beat top teams.

Even India’s T20 World Cup lineup of 15 is missing two of their most experienced players in Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal. India’s young cricketers are strong and fearless in this regard.

Despite having a 15-man roster, the BCCI had announced three reserve players. However, just days before the T20 World Cup began, Shardul Thakur, a reserve, was promoted to the final 15 while Axar Patel was downgraded to a reserve. And it’s easy to understand why.

Thakur was the highest wicket-taker for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2021 season, with 21 scalps, and has been outstanding for India with both bat and ball in the past year.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan lavished praise on Thakur, comparing him to the legendary Ian Botham. Vaughan believes it was MS Dhoni’s idea to get Thakur admitted to the final 15 and credits Thakur for making it happen.

“Last week I was with Lord Botham and he is a true lord. Thakur is very similar to Ian Botham. He gets the ball in his hands and makes things happen. He did it in the Test series, he did it in the IPL. The mentor of the Indian T20 team is behind the stumps. He was captaining him. He was probably on the phone with Virat and Ravi talking about him, saying ‘come on’. He (Shardul) has that ability to make things happen,” Vaughan said on Cricbuzz.

Vaughan went into detail about Thakur’s strengths, describing how one of his strengths is his ability to deceive and fox batters with his variations, a trait that spinner R Ashwin excels at. This, according to the former skipper, makes Thakur a difficult bowler to get away with.

“He must have a very good deception of pace because you watch him and it’s like ‘yeah, it’s pretty normal. But he has that deception like Ashwin. He bowls and it goes through quickly, bowls cross-seam and goes through quickly. He has that ability to surprise the batter and those subtle variations that we can’t pick up,” added Vaughan.

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