Shami's absence raises questions

Former India cricket captain and ex-chairman of the selection committee Krishnamachari Srikkanth has questioned the omission of Mohammed Shami from India's T20 World Cup squad.

He said the pacer would have been an ideal pick for the bouncy pitches of Australia and that Shami could have given India early wickets with the new-ball Down Under.

The 62-year-old former player's reaction came after the Indian cricket board (BCCI) announced India's 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup, starting on Oct 22.

Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are the fast-bowling options in the squad.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who suffered an injury during the recent Asia Cup, missed out while R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel are the specialist spinners.

The batting line-up is along expected lines, with captain Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik all included.

Shami has been named as a standby, along with fellow pacer Deepak Chahar, leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and batter Shreyas Iyer.

Almost immediately after the team was announced on Monday, the names of Shami and wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson, who was also excluded, started trending online.

Despite a poor Asia Cup showing, the Indian selectors stuck to tried and tested players.

Bumrah and Patel are back from injury to bolster the pace attack while Axar replaced the injured Jadeja.

Pant and Rahul, who copped flak for their poor showing in the Asia Cup, both made it to the World Cup squad.

Shami and Samson are fan favourites and had great performances in the Indian Premier League this year.

Shami was the leading wicket-taker for winners Gujarat Titans while Samson impressed by leading Rajasthan Royals to their first final since winning the trophy in 2008.

The 32-year-old Shami hasn't played a T20 International (T20I) after India's horrific T20 World Cup campaign in the UAE last November.

Srikkanth said it's unfair to leave the pacer out of next month's World Cup.

"Mohammed Shami should have been there. You are playing in Australia. Shami can get bounce in Australia, he has a high-arm action," said Srikkanth.

"He can get the ball going away from the left-hander, going into the right-hander. In the first three overs, he can get two or three wickets.

"If I were the chairman of the selection committee, Shami would definitely be in the team.

"We are playing in Australia. The guy's got the real action, the guy's got bounce, he can bear the moment and he can get us early wickets, so I would have probably gone with Shami instead of Harshal Patel.

"Yes, Harshal Patel is a good bowler, no doubt about it, but Mohammad Shami is the right guy.

"I mean they can say he's only for Test cricket or one-day cricket, but we are playing in Australia.

"That guy has done well in the last IPL, so Shami would be a must in my team."

Shami had a memorable IPL 2022 campaign with debutants Gujarat Titans, finishing the season with 20 wickets in 16 games at 24.40.

Despite that, he was not considered for the recently-concluded Asia Cup, even in the absence of Bumrah and Harshal.

However, Shami finds a place in the squad for the home T20I series against Australia and South Africa, which will be played from Sept 20 to Oct 4.

Indo-Asian News Service

"We are playing in Australia. The guy's got the real action, the guy's got bounce, he can bear the moment and he can get us early wickets, so I would have probably got Shami instead of Harshal Patel."

- Krishnamachari Srikkanth on Mohammed Shami (left)


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