Former India head coach Ravi Shastri and Pakistan’s legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram were ‘stunned’ at India’s roster after successive defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage of the Asian Cup pushed them to the brink. India now needs a number of factors to qualify for the Asian Cup final, which is not impossible, but seems highly unlikely. After a defeat in the last over against Pakistan, India replaced Ravichandran Ashwin for Ravi Bishnoi and Dinesh Karthik remained on the bench. The health issues with Avesh Khan meant that India only had two specialist fast bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh to choose from.
While Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled well, took four wickets and brought India back into the game after a blistering opening score of 97 runs between Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka, the pacers disappointed again. Hardik Pandya had another underpowered day with the ball and Bhuvneshwar again leaked crucial runs in the 19th as Sri Lanka chased the 174 point goal with one ball left for all but secured their place in the final.
Discussing the lack of options for fast bowlers in the Indian squad, Shastri said he was “stunned” not to see Mohammed Shami in the squad. The former Indian all-rounder said Shami could have provided that extra fast bowling option that India was missing after health issues with Avesh.
View | He was shocked, utterly confused when Hardik sent him ahead at the last minute
“If you have to win, you have to prepare better. I think the selection could have been better, especially for the fast bowlers. You know the conditions here. There is not much in it for the spinner. I was quite surprised that you came. ” here with just four fast bowlers (including Hardik). You needed that extra… someone like Mohammed Shami sitting at home and cooling his heels baffles me. After the IPL he had, it’s for him not to be able to make the cut. Obviously I’m seeing something else,” an animated Ravi Shasri said in the post-match show on Star Sports after the six-wicket loss from India Tuesday in Dubai.
Shami, who had a stellar IPL with eventual champions Gujarat Titans, and picked up wickets at will with the new ball, was not included in India’s Asia Cup roster despite injuries Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel. Many believed this was a clear indication that the veteran right-armed sailor is now not part of India’s schedule for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram, who himself along with former India opener Gautam Gambhir have been in charge of Shami’s inclusion in the Indian T20I squad since the start of the Asia Cup, came to Ravi Shastri with a question.
“Does a coach have input in selecting the team?” asked Akram.
“He does. He is not part of the roster. He can contribute by saying ‘this is the combination we want’, then it is up to the captain in the meeting to take that further. When I say planning… There should have been one extra fast bowler One less spinner in the 15-16 You don’t want to get caught in a situation where one man has a fever and then you have no one else to play You need another playing spinner, which can end up being embarrassing,” replied Shastri.