The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will not announce the replacement of injured pacemaker Jasprit Bumrah any time soon. Instead, the board has decided to send Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur to Australia at the earliest. The BCCI has left it up to team management who they want to take.
A BCCI source said team management, particularly captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid, will assess these players and then take a call.
“Team management wanted to see all players before answering a call. Shami was already on standby and after Deepak Chahar’s injury we had to send more names as reserve substitutes. So we asked team management and they felt they should fly all the players to Australia and they will rate the players and take a call,” a BCCI official said.
India’s T20 World Cup match will kick off against Pakistan in Melbourne on October 23.
The Indian team leadership had received a series of tremors in the month leading up to the World Cup. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was initially out due to a knee injury. A few weeks before leaving for Australia, team management received the biggest setback of Bumrah’s back injury. Later, Deepak Chahar injured his back and hip and was taken to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Despite Bumrah’s injury, former India coach Ravi Shastri felt the side was strong enough and backed Shami to join the team as Bumrah’s replacement.
“I think we have enough power and we have a good team. I’ve always believed that if we make it to the semifinals it could be anyone’s tournament. The aim would be to start well, get to the semifinals and then have enough strength to probably win the (World) Cup. Bumrah’s absence, Jadeja’s absence hinders the team, but it’s an opportunity to find a new champion,” Shastri said at the start of his coaching project with former Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun and former Indian field coach R Sridhar Chennai.
“(It’s) unfortunate,” Shastri had said of Bumrah’s injury. “There is so much cricket being played and people getting hurt. He’s hurt, but it’s a chance for someone else. There’s nothing you can do about the injury.”
Shami has only played 17 T20Is since debuting in the format against Pakistan in 2014 but has a good ODI record in Australia with 22 wickets at a 26.63 average. He was also the fourth highest wicket-taker at the 2015 World Cup Down Under.