Team India’s 15-member squad that was picked for the T20 World Cup 2022 on Monday was on expected lines with few to no surprises. The BCCI went in with its set of tried and tested players, ones that have been featuring regularly since the last World Cup and have been in the scheme of things. As expected, fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, who missed the Asia Cup due to respective injuries have returned after undergoing rehab and recovering from injuries, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh are India’s third and fourth pacers with all-rounder Hardik Pandya filling in as the fifth.
Weighing in on the squad, former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth agreed with most of the composition, barring one, which happens to be in the pace department. Srikkanth, a former BCCI chairman of selectors, reckons Mohammed Shami should have been preferred over the returning Harshal Patel. Now Shami hasn’t played a single T20I for India since last year’s World Cup, whereas Harshal on the other hand, has been an integral part of the team’s fast-bowling set-up since November. Yet, Srikkanth believes Shami, who was named among the four stand-by players for the World Cup, is a better bet.
“Mohammed Shami should have been there. We are playing in Australia. Look at the bounce there. Shami has a high-arm action, makes the ball go away from the left-hander and into the right hander. In the first three overs, two wickets will definitely fall. Why haven’t they taken him? Why have you picked Harshal Patel? You have Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar. When you have such three pacers, Shami should have been there. He has done very well in Australia all the time,” Srikkanth said on Star Sports.
Shami has played 19 ODIs in Australia having picked up 29 wickets with a best of 4/63, but when it comes to T20Is, he has featured for India just once Down Under where he went wicketless. Meanwhile, Harshal, who made his debut during the New Zealand series at home last November, has played 17 T20Is picking up 23 wickets. Srikkanth, however says that the selectors’ logic of keeping Shami out of the T20I fray is something he can’t wrap his head around and that he should have been a sure-shot yes in the squad than being part of the reserves list.
“I just feel Shami should have been in the squad in place of Harshal Patel. They will say he is not in the scheme of things. Why not I don’t know. How can you say that? Shami is your frontline bowler. Look at his IPL record in the last few years. It’s fantastic. He has got the early wickets. You need early breakthroughs. Who else is going to give them to you?” added Srikkanth.