Since Thursday, there have been reports of Bumrah likely to miss out on playing the T20 World Cup due to a back injury. On Friday, he was replaced by fellow pacer Mohammed Siraj for the remainder of the T20I series against South Africa, which further raised doubts over Bumrah’s availability for the mega event.
Shami, included as a travelling reserve for the T20 World Cup, hadn’t featured in T20Is against Australia and currently against South Africa due to a positive Covid-19 test, which has since then returned a negative result on re-testing after a period of 10 days.
The right-arm pacer hadn’t played international cricket since July this year and didn’t feature in T20Is since last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE.
“I’ll go ahead with Mohammed Shami because he will find form. Although he hasn’t played, he’s that kind of bowler who, once given an opportunity, can always step up and do the job for India. Plus, with this kind of experience, you need somebody at the top who can pick you wickets and you’ve seen Mohammed Shami in the last (2022) Indian Premier League,” said Karim on ‘Sports Over The Top’ show on Sports18.
“He’s such a bowler who can pick wickets with the new ball in the powerplay, and India needs that. So if Mohammed Shami can pick up early wickets with the new ball, that’s the kind of start India would need while defending the target or while trying to restrict the opposition from setting a huge target,” he added.
While admitting that Bumrah being ruled out of the T20 World Cup will be a huge blow for India, Karim felt the side playing bilateral T20Is without his presence indicated they were preparing for a scenario like this.
“Yes, he’s such a unique bowler. In the T20 format, you need someone who can bowl with the new ball and pick wickets and then can come back to finish his spell in the death overs. He’s extremely effective, plus his match awareness — he’s kind of part of the leadership group for the national side now. So yes, I think without him, this will be a massive blow for India.
“But you know one can sense that the Indian team management and the Indian captain (Rohit Sharma) were kind of preparing for this. That’s why they thought of bringing in Mohammed Shami and they also have Deepak Chahar on stand-by. So I think it’s good in a way that India played all these bilateral engagements without Jasprit Bumrah in the line-up.”
Karim signed off by saying the Indian pace attack will have to step up if Bumrah is absent for the T20 World Cup.
“With the new ball, you do have some viable options. You have Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Now what we saw in the last game, Arshdeep Singh can step up. We also have someone like Mohammed Shami.
“But to bowl in the death overs, especially under pressure, you need someone who’s aware of his abilities and he bowls according to that. So in that sense, without Jasprit Bumrah, the other bowlers really need to step up and do the job for India. That may not be so easy.”