And suddenly everything is looking shiny and bright for Team India. A couple of months back, they looked like a team in crisis. Their main batters were out because of injury alongside their pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. Fast forward two months, Men in Blue are the Asia Cup 2023 champions, they have a fully-fit squad at their disposal and everyone in their team is performing.
The biggest positive for Team India has been the return of Jasprit Bumrah. The right-handed pacer has looked lethal since his comeback. He already had the in-nipper in his arsenal but he has also developed an away swinger with the new ball. A fit Bumrah will walk into the Indian side and will lead the bowling attack in the ODI World Cup 2023.
In the World Cup squad, India have picked three frontline pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj. So far, the Indian team management have also made it clear that they are likely to play Shardul Thakur or Axar Patel depending on playing conditions as they need someone to bat at number eight. In such a case, India could only field two of their three frontline pacers. It leads us to the real dilemma – who should partner Jasprit Bumrah?
Mohammed Shami or Mohammed Siraj
In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj emerged as the new leader of the Indian bowling attack. The Hyderabad-born pacer has improved a lot in terms of his skills and currently is the number-one bowler in the ICC ODI rankings. His surreal spell against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 final was a testament to Siraj’s rise in world cricket.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Shami also hasn’t put a wrong foot forward ever since his comeback. He has delivered whenever has gotten a chance to play. Furthermore, the veteran pacer brings a ton of experience of playing in pressure situations and that would be needed in a tournament like the World Cup. Mohammed Shami displayed his wicket-taking abilities on the flat track against Australia in the first ODI.
The choice between Siraj and Shami is going to be really tricky for the team management. But, it looks like India is going to start with the pairing of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. However, India would need Shami’s services somewhere down the line as it is going to be a gruelling tournament. The World Cup 2023 will be played in a round-robin format. It means every team will have to play a minimum of 9 matches during the league stage.
India are likely to rotate their pacers to manage the workload. Furthermore, they also have the option to play all three together at venues that offer pacer-friendly conditions. Hence, While Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj are going to India’s preferred pace duo, Mohammed Shami will also play a pivotal role for India in the 2023 ODI World Cup.