Former India coach Ravi Shastri, being his characteristic self, didn’t hold back while deciphering India’s loss in the Super 4 clash to Sri Lanka at the 2022 Asia Cup. Having lost their match against Pakistan on Sunday, the men in blue needed a win against the island nation and the five time tournament winners to firm their chances for a place in the final. However a six wicket defeat meant, they are now just about in the competition, dependent on other teams and their results.
Donning the broadcaster/pundit hat, Shastri took a jibe at India’s selection strategy after the match ended on Tuesday at the Dubai International Stadium.
“When you need to win, you got to prepare better,” he said.
“I think the selection could have been better, especially for the fast bowlers. You know the conditions here. There’s not much in it for the spinner. I was quite surprised that you came here with just four fast bowlers (including Hardik). You needed that extra one… someone like Mohammed Shami sitting at home and cooling his heels baffles me. After the IPL he had, for him not to be able to make the cut is… Obviously, I’m seeing something different.”
Shami hasn’t featured in a T20I for India since their match against Afghanistan at the World Cup last year. The 32-year-old had however picked 20 wickets in IPL 2022, the most for Gujarat Titans who lifted the title in their inaugural season.
Speaking to the Indian Express earlier this year on who decides the rotation policy in the Indian team and whether the players have any say in it, Shami had said, “Who has the courage, which bowler or batsman has the himmat to say that he wants to sit out?”
“No one even wishes to sit out. Of course, there is something called workload management. I would agree with it to an extent but at times I think there are some minus points in it as well. I feel that at times when you are in good form and in great rhythm, you shouldn’t stop playing. Of course, at times I feel, for the sake of recovery, I need to take a break. You have to do it smartly.”
Former Pakistan quick Wasim Akram, who was also alongside Shastri in the Star Sports broadcast team, responded to his India counterpart by asking whether a coach (in his experience) has ‘an input in team selection?’. To which the 60-year-old replied, “He does.”
Shastri further added, “He’s not part of the selection. he can contribute by saying ‘this is the combination we want’ then it’s up to the captain in the meeting to take that forward. When I say planning… There should have been one extra fast bowler. One spinner less in the 15-16. You don’t wanna be caught situation where one guy has a fever and then you have no one else to play. You have to play another spinner which can be embarrassing in the end.”