Basseterre: He may have only got a little taste of the Caribbean conditions, but young pacer Shardul Thakur says he expects slower wickets in the Test series against the West Indies beginning on 21 July, much like the ones laid out for the two practice games in Basseterre.
The second practice match too ended in a draw today with West Indies Board President's XI scoring 223/6 and 180 in their two innings, while India made 364 all out in their only essay.
"I have sat down with the seniors and as a bowling unit, we have discussed all these things about pitches and conditions. The pitches here for both practice matches were slow and similarly we are also expecting slow wickets in the Test series too," said Shardul after the end of the practice match.
"So the bowlers know we have to keep making effort. The slower the wicket, the effort is more. Making an effort is my work and needed in all matches. It does not matter how the pitch is. A fast bowler has to give effort on each delivery," he added.
The youngster was included in this 17-man squad after his impressive performances for Mumbai in the recently concluded Ranji season.
And he made an impression here in St. Kitts too, troubling the batsmen in both innings with his line and length, using the bouncer as a surprise weapon and picking 1/50 in the 22 overs he bowled in the match.
"It was always my dream to be part of the Test team, and being with the Indian team where other players have gained certain experience, you get to learn a lot from them. I am trying to learn as much as I can, because it will only be good for my progress in the future," said the youngster.
"I did bowl a few bouncers and almost got a wicket with one in the second innings. Even in the first innings, the wicket I got was off a bouncer. I use it as a surprise weapon and it is more of a variation in my bowling," he said, talking about his match experience.
Talking about the influence of Anil Kumble and Ishant Sharma, Shardul said, "They have made me feel very comfortable and a player performs better when he is feeling good.
"There should not be any pressure in the dressing room and the more freedom you have, the better you will be able to perform out on the field. The senior guys and Anil bhai have given me enough confidence, so now it is up to me to go ahead and perform."
The first Test starts in Antigua on 21 July and Shardul does not expect to make the cut for the playing eleven.
Even so this is a long season, spanning as many as 17 Tests, and his chance is likely to come sooner or later.
"Everyone is a different bowler and it is important to identify you own strengths, and keep improving on them. We have shared different ideas about bowling in the Test series and hopefully our ideas will work.
"As for selection, well, we have a long season ahead of us. I am used to playing the domestic season that starts in September and goes on until March-April. So I just hope my fitness shapes up and I hope to get a look-in at some point," Shardul signed off.