Madan Lal has picked Mohammed Shami as an obvious choice for the upcoming World T20 in Australia, labelling him India's best pacer after Jasprit Bumrah due to his wicket-taking abilities. He went on to highlight Shami's good record Down Under, questioning whether the other bowlers are as good.
India seem to have their template for the upcoming World T20 in Australia more or less set as they compete in the ongoing Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Bar the injured Jasprit Bumrah who's missing from the tournament, the 16-member squad is expected to be pretty much the same for the marquee event. However, that would mean one of India's premier pacers Mohammed Shami will sit out the competition.
In the nine years since his international debut, the 31-year-old has only featured in 17 T20Is including the World Cups in 2014 and 2021. Last year, he could only manage six wickets in five games while bearing no fruit against Pakistan and New Zealand. Overall, Shami has 18 wickets in the format averaging a sub-par 31.55. Incidentally, the right-arm quick has not played a T20I since the tournament in the middle-east last year, having lost his place to up-and-coming bowlers like Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh both of whom played the Asia Cup opener against Pakistan.
The third pacer in the lineup has been Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has picked the most wickets for the Men in Blue since the World T20 in November and was again crucial against Pakistan on Sunday, scalping four wickets. Hardik Pandya's return from injury means he has also regularly chipped in with the full quota of four overs, making Shami's inclusion look unlikely. Nevertheless, 1983 World Cup winner Madan Lal believes it would be a major oversight to keep Shami out of the squad.
“Shami should definitely be in the team for the T20 World Cup. He’s our best bowler after Bumrah. I would look for a bowler who could get me wickets. I don’t want bowlers who would only look to contain runs. Batters will keep scoring runs in this format. The only way to stem the flow of runs is to take wickets,” he was quoted saying by Hindustan Times.
"The Indian selectors will make a big mistake if they don’t pick Shami. He’s a great bowler and has done well in Australia in the past. I don’t understand why they are not picking him for T20s. You think he’s not a better bowler than those who are playing now? He’s one of the best bowlers in world cricket."
India has T20Is against Australia and South Africa scheduled before they play the World Cup in October and it remains to be seen whether Shami will be given a chance to prove his mettle once more.