Mohammed Shami’s chances of playing in the game against Bangladesh seems likely, with the pacer being included in the final 12 selected by the Indian team. The final playing XI will be determined after skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid have assessed the pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium near Pune.
In the lead-up to the match, much of the debate has revolved around Shami, the highest wicket-taker in the World Cup among the current lot. He has participated in two World Cups, in Australia and England, but is yet to make an appearance in this edition of the Championship. The primary debate leading up to the match is whether Shami should replace the all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who seems to be preferred to the specialist pacer due to his batting abilities. However, with the Indian batting performing exceptionally well in the World Cup, there is a chance that Shami might be considered for the playing XI.
Shami has taken 31 wickets in the World Cup, a number he shares with Anil Kumble. This puts him in a list led by Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath, both with 44 wickets. Kapil Dev (28) and Jasprit Bumrah (26) are the other prominent wicket-takers for India.
“See, honestly, it is never an easy decision. But I think the conversations are around, we had a clear chat with him. Whenever we select a squad, the message from us is very clear. That we pick a squad we feel is the best for that wicket. And I think sometimes you will miss out. Someone like him is missing out, someone like Ash will miss out,” India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey had said on the eve of the game.
“And I think that’s the communication that we have with him, we are very clear. Difficult decision, honestly, even with the quality that he brings to the team, new ball, death, it is difficult to take that decision. But you have to make that decision, you only have eleven on the field,” Mhambrey had said on the difficulty of leaving veteran pacer out.