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Date: Wednesday 20 April 2011
Centurion Shiv Thakor was quick to praise teammate James Taylor in reflecting on a “dream start” to his Leicestershire first team career.
Although Thakor is still to reach 18 years of age, his first XI debut has been a long time in the making given he scored his first hundred for the Club at under-9 level and has impressed ever since.
So in quiet moments over the years, the Uppingham Schoolboy may well have imagined making his full debut and thought about the ideal situation facing him as he went to the crease.
It’s fair to say the scenario today was far from that! Thakor came to the middle to face a highly-spirited Loughborough MCCU attack who had their tails up after reducing Leicestershire to 6-3 and then 62-4.
By the time he departed for a brilliant 134, Thakor had curbed their enthusiasm in sharing an astonishing 330 with Taylor - who made a career-best 237 in his first innings as Club captain - as they smashed Leicestershire’s previous best first-class fifth-wicket stand.
It was certainly a proud day for the players, who dealt with everything thrown at them like wily old professionals rather than two young men whose combined age does not quite tally 39 years.
Events had certainly conspired against Leicestershire after Taylor won the toss and elected to bat. The duo would have been hoping to see their colleagues make hay in the bright sunshine before having their turn but it didn’t work out that way.
Taylor was soon in the middle with the score on 2-2 and Thakor was fully prepared for action shortly afterwards when the third wicket fell on six. A good innings from Wayne White (32) ensured Thakor wasn’t immediately required to go to the crease but he was still under pressure when he arrived.
Not that Thakor showed it; he thrived on the challenge and became the first Leicestershire-born player to score a century on his first-class debut for the Club, beating Maurice Tompkin's previous best of 91 made in 1938.
As well as that special individual achievement, Thakor also joined the record books for eclipsing a partnership that helped Leicestershire towards winning the Championship in 1998.
Leicestershire legends Phil Simmons and Ben Smith held the record after putting on 322 against Nottinghamshire at Worksop and although that alliance will never be forgotten, it was surpassed by the pair and Taylor now features in three of the Club’s best-ever stands.
The batsman shared 360* for the fourth-wicket with Andrew McDonald against Middlesex last term after adding 195 for the eighth with Jigar Naik against Derbyshire in 2009 and his third achievement came courtesy of his third Leicestershire double-century.
For Taylor to put in such a measured performance when you consider all the circumstances, as well as being a calming influence for Thakor, was yet another demonstration of a maturity beyond his years.
Thakor now proudly joins him in Leicestershire’s history. He grabbed his opportunity with both hands and it was a proud day for the 17-year-old, who scored the century in front of his father and shared the stand with a good friend.
He said: “It was a great experience to be out there for my debut and it was nice to do well. It was great to be out there with James Taylor, who helped me a lot, and it’s an experience that I’ll remember and cherish.
“I know James well – and have probably got to know him a bit better today! It was nice to be out there with him and I learnt a lot from batting with James.
"He was great and got me through it. I was just looking forward to making my debut; I wanted to try my best and see what happened and it’s been a dream start. I hope it’ll carry on now.
“It’s always nice to break records and to it was great to share it with James. The array of shots he played was magnificent and he can’t be far away from playing for England – he deserves that.”