Even if Mohammed Shami is declared fit for the ICC World T20, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that it will be difficult for the Bengal speedster to either replace Jasprit Bumrah or Ashish Nehra in the playing as the team presently looks “very balanced”.
“We still don’t know whether Shami will be fit or not. He still has a bit of time and he was picked because of his potential. He is someone who can bowl with new and old ball with yorkers being his strength. But it will be difficult to replace Bumrah as he has contributed very well with the new ball,” Dhoni said at the post-match press conference after winning the Asia Cup T20 title last night.
“Hardik Pandya is a seaming all-rounder. If Jadeja or him (Hardik) can bat No 8 and they can give me three or four overs, then it looks like a better balanced side. Shami can only come in Ashish’s slot but he would be very tough to replace. The reason being he’s done very well for us, he’s moved the ball around.”
But Dhoni feels that Shami will have to prove his fitness first in the two warm-up games.
“But again Shami has a bit of time. He will have to prove his fitness in the warm-up games. If he does, he will stay ahead with the team. If he’s unfit or he’s not able to deliver the way he has to then he will have to make way for somebody else,” he said.
He praised Shikhar Dhawan for pacing his innings well.
“It was well-paced innings although he got stuck in between. But it didn’t matter as it was best batting wicket in the tournament. Our bowlers did a good job to restrict them to 120. We had firepower to get those runs,” Dhoni said.
He agreed that winning 10 out of 11 games will give them confidence ahead of the ICC World T20.
“Again I have said, you may be strong but how well you are playing at that point in time is what matters. This team is suitable for all conditions but only in T20 format where they can win nine out of 10 games. But it won’t happen like that in 50 overs as these 15 players suit the nature and demands of this format. Again when we play 50 overs, we will have to do brainstorming,” the Indian skipper said.
Dhoni is also hopeful that spinners will have a special role to play in the coming World Cup.
“More often than not, they have restricted oppositions. Spinners are useful in all formats as it is not easy to play big shots against them. If they get assistance, they can exploit. The quality of spinners also matters. They varied their pace and they will have major role to play in the World Cup,” he said.