'We are not playing to please anyone' - Shardul Thakur on India's tactics of targeting England tail-enders with bouncers

One of the highlights of the series was the bouncer battle among the fast bowlers.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Although the England vs India Test series remained inconclusive due to the cancellation of the fifth Test, some quality brand of Test cricket was witnessed in the first four games. Both teams were neck-to-neck for the best part of the series as momentum rode on a roller-coaster. As of now, the five-match series stands 2-1 in favour of India.

One of the highlights of the series was the bouncer battle among the fast bowlers. Tail-enders of both teams faced a barrage of bouncers during the series. On-field altercations also took place on many occasions. James Anderson and Jasprit Bumrah were especially at the loggerheads. The two talismanic pacers bowled with hostility against each other and a lot of verbal exchange was also seen. Speaking of the same, Indian pacer Shardul Thakur revealed Anderson said something inappropriate to Bumrah, and the Indian camp wasn’t amused.

“We were trying to attack Anderson. Something had happened during the Lord’s Test and it was carried to The Oval. I was later told that Anderson said something to Bumrah which he shouldn’t have, I was told they (England team) abused Bumrah. Those words cannot be said in public, so everyone got charged up after this,” Thakur told Indian Express.

The right-arm pacer further asserted one shouldn’t question India’s tactics of targeting tail-enders with bouncers. After all, India’s lower-order also face the same when they travel overseas.

Why shouldn’t we bowl bodyline: Shardul Thakur

“When we go overseas, our tailenders also face bouncers. In Australia, Natrajan was bowled bouncers by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins despite them knowing that this guy hasn’t batted much even in First Class cricket. So now when our opponents’ tailender come to bat then why can’t we bowl bouncers at him? Why shouldn’t we bowl bodyline? We are not playing to please anyone. We are playing there to win,” the 29-year-old added.

Meanwhile, Thakur was one of the chief architects of India’s successful campaign in UK. He scalped seven wickets in two games alongside scoring twin half-centuries in the fourth Test. As far as the fifth and final Test is concerned, both ECB and BCCI are planning to conduct the game next year in the UK.