Team India has been doing well in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 in England after having remained unbeaten in 4 games. While the team has been in good form as a whole, it has been inflicted with freak injuries in the last two games.
First, it was Shikhar Dhawan’s hand injury against Australia that forced him out for two weeks. Then, in the game against Pakistan, Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar slipped a little on a soggy pitch while attempting to bowl and suffered a freak hamstring injury. Bhuvneshwar, who was getting into his rhythm in that game, couldn’t take any further part in the match and has been ruled out for at least 2-3 games.Embed from Getty Images
While this is indeed a blow to the Indian team as Bhuvneshwar, along with Jasprit Bumrah, had formed a great combination, they would still not be too concerned. India has fast bowler Mohammad Shami in the reserves, and he will step in immediately to take Bhuvi’s place. Before the start of the World Cup, many had expected Shami to be the first choice seamer in the first eleven along with Bumrah considering his form and ability to take wickets at crucial junctures. But captain Virat Kohli had chosen to go with Bhuvneshwar as he finds him more experienced.
Now Shami has got an opportunity to prove his mettle again. He is sharp, he is quick and he has the penchant for taking crucial wickets even when the ball is old.
Former Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar to feels that Shami might be a dangerous proposition for batsmen to face in the coming games. “He is sharper than you think and I like his approach to the stumps. He has got beautiful run-up. I think, if Mohammed Shami plays the next game, he is a danger customer upfront. He has the potential to provide breakthroughs,” Sachin said in an interview to a TV news channel.Embed from Getty Images
Shami indeed can provide breakthroughs and has been in excellent form. In 2019, he has played 11 ODIs and picked up 19 wickets in them at an average of 26.42. Overall, Shami has 113 wickets in 63 ODIs. He is not someone who takes wickets in a bunch or gets five-fors regularly. But Shami’s controlled aggression with pace and movement makes him a fiery prospect to have.
When he made his debut, Shami bowled fast and straight. But over the years, Shami has matured as a bowler. He has added multiple variations to his armory like the slower one, the out-swinger, the sharp bouncer and a lethal yorker. He has learned to control his deliveries much better and is a handful at the start and the death. This makes him an asset to the team and Kohli would be thankful that Bhuvi’s injury would be cushioned nicely by Shami’s arrival.
Thankfully, India’s next game is against a weak Afghanistan who have lost all their games in the World Cup so far. This will allow Mohammad Shami the perfect opportunity to get into his groove nicely. It will be interesting to see how he handles himself and what will the Indian team management do if he produces some spectacular performances in the opportunities he gets.