Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur has been rewarded with a place in the Indian Test squad for West Indies tour. Pictured: Mumbai`s Shardul Thakur being felicitated by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur with the top wicket-taker`s award at the BCCI Annual Award ceremony in Mumbai on January 5, 2016.IANS

Little was known about Mumbai seamer Shardul Thakur, before he made it to the India Test squad for the upcoming West Indies tour. However, it is journey that is indeed worth remembering – one of being an overweight player and getting dropped from the Mumbai U-19 squad three years ago to being picked for the India team for taking the highest number of wickets for Mumbai in the last Ranji Trophy season.

Shardul Thakur picked up 41 wickets in 11 matches during the Ranji Trophy 2015-2016 season. He put up a fantastic show with the ball in the previous season as well, taking 48 scalps.

As a result, the BCCI selectors were happy to reward him with a place in the India Test squad for the tour of West Indies.

One will be surely surprised to know, that this 24-year-old seamer was released by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the middle of the IPL 2016 season.

Thakur used to travel three and a half hours from Palghar (a small town, 90km north of Mumbai) to the city every day to play cricket.

Perseverance pays off and he has now been handed an opportunity to brush shoulders with seamers like Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Looking at these names, it is more or less likely that Thakur will have to wait for a little while longer to get his hands on his first India Test cap, but the experience of being around the India senior team will be very important for the youngster.

'The Palghar Express' as he is known in the Mumbai cricket circles, was once asked by none other than Sachin Tendulkar to lose weight if he wanted to do something with his cricket career.

Then came the transformation as he shed 13kgs, which in turn led to some outstanding displays for Mumbai and eventually a place in the India team.