Mumbai: Having made an impression with his efforts in the drawn warm-up match between Indian Board President's XI and South Africans, Mumbai medium pacer Shardul Thakur said he is confident of taking wickets anywhere except on rank turners.
"I don't find anything to stop me from taking wickets except rank turners," said Thakur, who finished with figures of four for 70 in the South Africans' first innings of 302. Thakur took all his four wickets in the space of 25 balls for eight runs, starting yesterday evening. He had snapped up visiting team's opener Stiaan van Zyl and night watchman Simon Harmer last evening, while today he added prized scalps of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis.
Asked how he went about planning to dismiss South African Test skipper Amla, Thakur said, "I have seen Amla getting out early but once he settles down it's difficult to dismiss him. So the plan was to bowl in the corridor (of uncertainty), swinging it away."
Thakur, however, admitted that South Africa's ODI skipper AB de Villiers was totally unfazed. "He batted very well and did not give us any chance." De Villiers made a superb 112 to rescue the South Africans from a difficult 57 for five at one stage, in reply to the home team's 296.
De Villiers also put on a half-century stand with Temba Bavuma (15), followed by a century partnership for the seventh wicket with wicketkeeper Dane Vilas, who made 54.
Asked what he had asked the star batsman after being hit for two fours in the first over, Thakur said: "I wanted to find out how he hit the first boundary (a rasping square cut) to what I felt was a good ball that I had bowled. He said, for him it was not a good ball."
Thakur, who has been performing consistently over the last few years for Mumbai and has also played for India A against South Africa A this season, said this had been his best show this season. "When you are playing against a quality opposition you need to remain focused right through, unlike in Ranji Trophy where you can take it easy sometimes. I was looking to put all my energy into every ball I bowl," he said.
"When they (SA fast bowlers) bowled yesterday, they bowled exactly as per the situation, closer to the stumps. We were a bit here and there," he added candidly.