Following Jasprit Bumrah’s injury concerns, which was reported widely on Thursday, the BCCI have named Mohammed Siraj as the replacement of the former for the rest of the series against South Africa. Siraj, 28, is scheduled to join the squad on Friday in Guwahati, two days before India’s second T20I match against South Africa.
However, what has surprised many in this entire saga is the exclusion of Mohammed Shami once again. The 32-year-old, who tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday, will be reporting to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for a fitness test, but could have become a viable option for the third T20I and the rest of the ODI matches. However, the BCCI hurried to announce Siraj as the replacement for the rest of the series, ensuring another snub for Shami, who will most probably be overlooked again in the T20 World Cup.
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Siraj, who has been preferred by the BCCI as the replacement of Siraj, has played five T20I matches in his career, since his T20I debut in 2017. He has taken five wickets in the shortest format of the game, and his last T20I appearance came against Sri Lanka on February 27, 2022, when he registered a figure of 1/22.
In retrospect, Shami has played 17 T20Is since 2014, however, has not played in the shortest format of the game in almost a year, with his last match coming against Namibia in November 2021. He has taken 18 T20I wickets in his career, with an economy rate of 9.15, compared to Siraj’s 10.45.
It is clear that India has a dearth of quality bowlers who can replace the likes of Jasprit Bumrah. However, to overlook a senior bowler like Shami, who could be a valuable resource at the T20 World Cup, for the last chance of becoming match-fit, could result in a huge cost.
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“The best guy to replace him (Bumrah) would probably be Mohammed Shami. But again, the death bowling is a concern with Shami. (Bumrah’s absence) it’s going to be a massive blow for India’s preparation,” Wasim Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo. He also added that he feels that India does not have any bowler as good as Bumrah, who can replace him directly.
Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra had a different view regarding Shami being Bumrah’s replacement, as he opined that Shami is not the ideal replacement for Bumrah.
“He (Shami) is technically not an ideal replacement for Bumrah. He might bowl better than Bumrah with the new ball, but he will be shaky in the death overs,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.