India coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma on Tuesday hinted that pacer Mohammed Shami could replace the injured Jasprit Bumrah in India’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
Bumrah has been ruled out of the World Cup in Australia due to a back injury dealing a big blow to India’s chances at the tournament.
Speaking after India’s match against South Africa on Tuesday, Dravid said Shami is someone the Indian management can call upon to replace Bumrah while also saying that he would wait for a report on his fitness after a bout of Covid-19.
“Jasprit Bumrah is obviously a great player and we’ll miss having him at the World Cup but it’s also a great opportunity for some of the others to step up,” Dravid was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“In terms of who the replacement is, we’ll have a look, we’ll see, we’ve got time till October 15. Shami obviously is someone who’s in the standbys, but unfortunately for us, he couldn’t play this series, which would have been ideal from that perspective.
“He’s in the NCA at the moment - we’ll have to get reports as to how he’s recovering, and what’s his status after 14-15 days of Covid, and we’ll take a call, once I get reports on how he’s feeling, then we can take a call and the selectors can take a call on how we move forward on it. What do we expect from the guy? We just want him to play some good cricket, have fun and enjoy himself and do the best he can. It is all we can ask from people, do the best you can.”
Shami and Deepak Chahar have been named as standby players for the tournament. While Chahar played in the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa, Shami hasn’t played in the shortest format of the game since the IPL ended in May. The Gujarat Titans pacer last played a T20I at the T20 World Cup last year.
Captain Rohit Sharma also hinted at Shami’s inclusion saying, “We’ve got to get someone in who’s got experience, who’s bowled in Australia, and see what he has to offer. I don’t know who that guy is yet. There are a few guys in the reckoning for that, but we’ll make that call once we reach Australia.”
Dravid also hailed his side’s batting depth on Tuesday after tailenders Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar and Umesh Yadav added 68 runs in India’s failed chase of 228.
“I was really happy with the fact that we kept going, we kept hitting hard, we kept being positive - even lower down the order, just to see the way Harshal and Deepak, these guys as well, hit some shots for us. Really good signs knowing that we’ve got people lower down who can hit those clutch hits, if we need them, in some of the other games.”
The Indian coach spoke about India’s positive and aggressive approach towards batting saying, “We made a decision after the last T20 World Cup, sat down with the group, sat down with Rohit, and we made a conscious effort to try and be more positive. We believe we’ve got the quality of batsmanship that allows us to be positive and play a little bit more aggressively.
“And it also means that then we’ve got to structure our squads a little bit around the fact that we’ve got to try and have a little bit more batting depth as well.”