Ahead of the clash against Bangladesh, India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey admitted that leaving the star pacer Mohammed Shami out of the playing 11 is a “difficult decision” to make but they pick the team according to the wicket conditions. Rohit-led Team India will look to carry their winning form in the WC as they prepare to lock horns with Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Thursday.
Because of Team India’s present bench strength, a world-class fast bowler like Shami is finding it hard to make the playing 11. Shami was not featured in India’s three opening matches of the World Cup campaign.
The quality of bowling Shami brings with the new ball and in death presents Indian management with a big selection dilemma. Mhambrey noted that it is difficult to leave out a player of Shami’s calibre, but the team can only play 11 players and they are fielding the best combinations.
“See, honestly, it is never an easy decision. But I think the conversations are around, we had a clear chat with him. Whenever we select a squad, the messages from us are very clear. That we pick a squad we feel is the best for that wicket. And I think sometimes you will miss out. Someone like him is missing out, someone like Ash will miss out. And I think that’s the communication that we have with him, we are very clear. Difficult decision, honestly, even with the quality that he brings to the team, new ball, death, it is difficult to take that decision. But you have to take that decision, you only have eleven on the field,” Paras Mhambrey said during a pre-match press conference at Pune.
The ICC World Cup 2023 saw two significant upsets, with Afghanistan startling defending champions England and the Netherlands shocking South Africa.
Mhambrey said Team India takes each opponent seriously. Talking about the MCA Stadium in Pune, Mhambrey felt that it would be a tough venue from a bowling perspective for India.
“I think honestly, I thought when you enter a World Cup, every team will pose you a challenge. So, from our perspective, maybe any team I don’t think we’ll take anyone [lightly]- that’s the discussion that we had. That’s one of the points that we spoke about can happen, but from our point of view, every game – because we are the only side playing on nine different teams, nine different venues, nine different surfaces that offer different challenges for us. So, we want to prepare for that. So maybe Bangladesh or maybe the Netherlands, I think we want to treat that game equally important,” he added.
Mhambrey was overjoyed that Jasprit Bumrah had returned to the team after nearly a year on the sidelines due to injury. Bumrah is presently the World Cup 2023’s leading wicket-taker, taking 8 wickets in the first three matches at an incredible average of 11.62.
“Ask me about it man. It has been tough. I thought the last few years, a couple of years, it has been really tough. It is tough to miss someone like Bumrah. You have seen him in the last three games that he has played. What he brings to the table – he is a world-class bowler. He gives you that breakthrough that you require in the power plays. He’s well adapted to bowl in the middle overs and he’s a top gun dead bowler,” Mhambrey said.
“I think in that sense, we really missed him. Glad that he’s shaping well. And I think we must credit the staff back at the NCA, the medical department, the physios out there, and out here as well. And they really worked hard behind the scenes for the last few years, from where he was and to get him out here. So, credit goes to them as well. But as you said, I think it’s a big bonus to have someone like him,” said the India bowling coach.
The Men in Blue made a strong start to the ODI World Cup campaign, winning three back-to-back matches. India opened its campaign with a six-wicket victory over five-time champion Australia, followed by an eight-wicket victory over Afghanistan. Then they went on to thump arch-rival Pakistan by seven wickets in their previous match.
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