India’s pacers played a key role in guiding the team to the final of the ODI World Cup, and after its defeat against Australia in the summit clash, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey believes that it will be important to manage the workload of the bowlers moving forward.
Over the last few weeks, India’s pace trio - Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj - dominated the tournament. While Shami was the highest wicket-taker with 24 scalps, Bumrah claimed 20 wickets. Siraj bagged 14 wickets in 11 outings, making India a force to reckon with.
“We will have to be very smart with the way we go forward in terms of managing the workload. These guys have played a lot of cricket, so we need to see how we want to go about it. We haven’t discussed it yet,” Mhambrey said on Sunday.
Throughout the tournament, sans the final, the fast bowlers delivered every time they were given a responsibility. But the build-up wasn’t easy. With Bumrah missing out on a large part of the year due to a long injury lay-off, the onus was on young guns, and by Mhambrey’s admission, the last couple of years were ‘very challenging’.
“We missed Bumrah for a major part, and you see the difference he brings when he is in the side. The way he has gone in this tournament especially, it’s massive. It has been challenging, but looking at the other side of it, it has also been an opportunity for us to work on the bench-strength and that’s why we could play Mukesh, Prasidh, Kuldeep. I would look at it that way,” Mhambrey said.
“Just one game does not take the credit away from these guys. Look at the way we played in the last six-seven months. Not only the Asia Cup, but even prior to that, the way we have played is exceptional and I am proud of them. I can’t fault them for their effort or commitment…”
Shami had to warm the bench initially, and it was only after Hardik Pandya’s injury that he was included in the final eleven. And that worked wonders.
“He (Shami) was incredible. He obviously hadn’t played the initial games, but the way he came back and bowled throughout the tournament was incredible. That’s not something we expected, but we always knew that he always has that positive impact on the game. He has been phenomenal,” Mhambrey said.
After claiming a fifer against Sri Lanka in a group league match, Shami celebrated uniquely. He signalled towards the dressing room by rubbing the match ball on his head, and Mhambrey revealed the secret, “The deal was that he knows someone who does hair transplantation, so he had offered me that. The choice was that I either go with him or stay the way I am,” Mhambrey said with a smile, “I decided to stay like this…”
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