Mohammed Shami joining the Indian team as the replacement for Jasprit Bumrah in the T20 World Cup has bolstered the pace bowling department ahead of the big-ticket event.
But Suresh Raina, a member of the 2011 World Cup winning squad, believes young left-arm fast bowler Arshdeep Singh will be the Indian team’s dark horse in the ICC showpiece event.
“Arshdeep is the dark horse. When you have one left-arm fast bowler in the team, it actually has an impact. When we won the World T20 in 2007, we had Irfan (Pathan) and RP (Singh). In 2011, we had Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra; and this time, we have this guy (Arshdeep) and I am sure he will change the fortunes for us,” Raina told Sportstar on Friday.
In the two practice games against Western Australia, Arshdeep claimed four wickets.
Even though Shami played for Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League 2022, he hasn’t played a T20I since November last year. But having seen Shami from close quarters, Raina believes that the seasoned campaigner has the experience to turn things around.
“You cannot replace Bumrah, but Shami will bring his A game for the team. He has enough experience and has done really well in white ball, red ball and pink ball cricket. He has that courage and has that character to show to the world cricket and he has done it in the past,” Raina, who is now the India brand ambassador for Booking.com - the accommodation booking partner for the T20 World Cup - said.
In the absence of Bumrah, there were concerns about India’s bowling department, but Raina admits that the BCCI’s decision to send the team to Australia early will benefit the players. “We still have a lot of time to go. The BCCI took a great decision to send the team 15 days before the tournament, it has never happened before. It’s a very good time for the Indian team to get acclimatised. See what is happening in Australia. Summer is just setting in there, but it’s cold with a bit of rain, so once you get used to the conditions, everything will fall in place,” Raina said.
“Process is the key. That’s something we followed even in 2011. M. S. Dhoni, Sachin (Tendulkar) paaji and Gary had then told me that if we follow the process, everything will fall in place…”
As far as the batting is concerned, Suryakumar Yadav will be a vital cog in the wheel. “Surya has that intent and that fearless approach. When you have that fearless approach in T20s, you can defend or chase any target, you just need to have the right planning and then everything will fall in place,” Raina stated.
India begins its campaign against Pakistan on October 23.
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