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"Scoring century was a big relief": Shardul Thakur on maiden FC ton in Ranji semis

March 04, 2024 10:58 AM

Mumbai : Indian all-rounder Shardul Thakur expressed happiness after scoring his first-ever first-class century during Mumbai's Ranji Trophy semifinal game against Tamil Nadu, saying that reaching the three-figure mark was a big relief and he was trying to play with freedom.


Due to Thakur century and a great fightback by the lower order, Mumbai led by 207 runs at the end of day's play yesterday. The Palghar-born all-rounder, who has made a name for himself with some serious clutch knocks during big matches, celebrated his century by putting his bat and helmet down and throwing his fist in the air.

Following the match, Thakur told reporters, "I did a celebration which came to mind. Scoring a century is a big, big relief. Besides, it was very important for the team at that point of time. In big games if you are scared then you tend to lose the wickets or performance might not come your way. So I might as well play with freedom and that was the whole idea when I started batting," said Thakur.

The Mumbai star said that since some of big Mumbai players like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sarfaraz Khan are currently playing for India in the home Test series against England and skipper Ajinkya Rahane is not in a great form, the top-order has been weak but it has received more than enough compensation from the lower order in the team's collective aim to capture record-extending 42nd Ranji title.


In this match, Mumbai was down 106/7 despite Musheer Khan's 55, before Thakur's counterattacking 109 in 105 balls with 13 fours and four sixes, a half-century from tailender Tanush Kotian (89 in 126 balls, with 12 fours) and Tushar Deshpande lifted Mumbai to 378 runs in their first innings in reply to TN's first innings total of 146 runs.


During the quarterfinal against Baroda, number 10 and 11 batters Kotian and Deshpande slammed 120* and 123 respectively, the first instance of number 10 and 11 batters scoring centuries in Indian first-class cricket. This helped Mumbai to go from 337/9 to 569 all out and take a massive 605-run lead.


"You have to see that with Yashasvi playing for India now, Sarfaraz also being selected. And Prithvi who has just come back from injury, there was a big hollow (vacuum) which was created in the Mumbai batting lineup in the top order. And Ajinkya probably is not in that good form right now. So there is a big hollow in the top order," said Thakur.


"So it is okay if you are going to have these kinds of seasons. But the good thing the runs are coming lower down the order. And it also shows the grit Mumbai players have and Khadoos attitude that we talk about that Mumbai has," he added.

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