Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has said that despite the absence of the injured Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, India have got “enough strength” to do well at the T20 World Cup, and has also backed Mohammed Shami due to his experience in Australian conditions. Shami, who hasn’t played a single T20I since the 2021 T20 World Cup, is in the reserves for the Australia edition of the tournament and could replace Bumrah.
“I think we have got enough strength and we have a good team. I have always believed if you make it to the semi-finals, it could be anyone’s tournament. The endeavour would be to start well, get to the semis, and then you have got enough strength to probably win the [World] Cup, for all you know. Bumrah not being there, Jadeja not being there, it hampers the side, but it’s an opportunity to unearth a new champion,” Shastri said at the launch of his coaching venture with former India bowling coach Bharat Arun and former India fielding coach R Sridhar in Chennai.
“(It’s) unfortunate,” Shastri said of Bumrah’s injury. “There’s so much cricket being played, and people get injured. He is injured, but it’s an opportunity for somebody else. There is nothing you can do with injury.”
Shami has played only 17 T20Is since making his debut in the format against Pakistan in 2014, but has a good ODI record in Australia, with 22 wickets at an average of 26.63. He was also the fourth highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup Down Under.
“Precisely, his experience (in Australian conditions),” Shastri said of Shami.
“India have been there a lot in the last six years and he has been an integral part of all those tours. So that experience counts.”
Meanwhile, Bharat Arun said that Australian conditions would suit the Indian team. “The expectation is that India has to keep winning,” Arun said. “If they lose, people tend to criticise them. They are showing a lot of promise, especially in World Cup events, and Australian conditions will suit them.”