Nottingham: Team India skipper Virat Kohli has dropped a major hint at including Shardul Thakur in the playing XI for the first Test against England that begins on Wednesday at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. India are in desperate search of a pace-bowling all-rounder and with Hardik Pandya not fully fit to fulfil the role, Kohli feels Shadul might fill his shoes in England series.

Earlier this year, Thakur had played a key role with both bat and ball — picking seven wickets and scoring 67 — in helping India win the fourth and final Test against Australia in Brisbane to seal the series 2-1.

Kohli claims that Shardul is a multi-dimensional cricketer who brings a lot more balance to a Test team.

“Yes, he definitely can be [made into an all-rounder]. He is already a multi-dimensional cricketer. And it’s all about him getting more and more confidence with performances like [in] Brisbane. Someone like him obviously brings a lot more balance to a Test team or any other format of the game,” Kohli said in a virtual media interaction on the eve of the first Test.

Kohli said that the likes of Pandya and Thakur who can chip in with bat and ball go a long way in helping the team win.

“Hardik has done well for us in the past. Right now he is getting back on track. But yes, these kinds of cricketers obviously help the team in a massive way. Shardul is a huge prospect for us and someone who is going to be very important not just in the series but moving forward as well,” the India captain added.

India don’t have pace bowling all-rounders, unlike England who have Sam Curran in their squad.

India’s tail has not been able to wag since their bowlers don’t bat well. It was evident during the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in June. India’s last four wickets added 35 and 28 in the two innings of that Test. Thakur, who moves the ball well in the air, also provides a handy seam bowling option in England.

(With IANS Inputs)