World Cup 2019: Shami is a top class bowler, says Madan Lal

Madan Lal, who was Kapil Dev’s trump card in the World Cup final against West Indies in 1983, feels Mohammed Shami should be picked over Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the Old Trafford rubber.

Mohammed Shami bowls during a practice session as Vijay Shankar and Jasprit Bumrah look on.   -  AFP

Bowling to Gordon Greenidge and Sir Viv Richards was no less than an academic session for Madan Lal. He learnt the ethos of calypso cricket by rubbing shoulders with the giants.

Ahead of India’s World Cup 2019 clash against West Indies in Manchester, the 68-year-old reflected on the style of bowling that paid dividends in the yesteryears and how the current pace attack can reap benefits from bowling cutters.

Lal, one of Kapil Dev’s go-to bowlers in the 1983 World Cup final, reckoned that dot balls will eventually lead to wickets for Virat Kohli’s side on Thursday.

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“You have to choke their runs and they will automatically start getting out. You have to bowl in good areas and not leave any room. Their batsmen only try to play strokes and the shots all around, so it will be wise to keep to the stumps,” he told Sportstar.

Lal feels the Windies’ batting approach isn’t much different from his time. “I think it is the same sort of batsmanship. This is how they bat. They always play like this. You can try out variations and that can work for you. We use to only bowl in-cutters and leg-cutters and if our bowlers can do that, they can be successful. 

“You have to bowl to the stump and not outside off-stump. You have to make them play,” he added.

The Indian think tank, however, may face a selection conundrum. Swing specialist Bhuvneshwar Kumar has recovered from the hamstring strain but leaving out Mohammed Shami, specially after the hat-trick against Afghanistan, may raise eyebrows. 

Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar picked Bhuvneshwar over Shami for his ability to trouble Chris Gayle, but Lal’s choice is Shami.

“Definitely Shami. He is a better pick. He didn’t start the campaign from the first game. Ravi [Shastri] and Virat [Kohli] may have other plans for him but for me, he is a top class bowler,” he said.