Who will be India’s best bet to stop Pakistan captain Babar Azam? Most would be inclined to take Jasprit Bumrah‘s name. The pace spearhead will play his first multi-nation tournament since the 2021 T20 World Cup and will be Rohit Sharma’s main weapon to peg back the in-form Pakistan batting line-up in their Asia Cup 2023 opener on September 2 in Pallekele. Some may even take Kuldeep Yadav’s name. The left-arm wrist spinner has been in top form ever since making his comeback to the Indian side last year. And the last time he came up against Babar in an ODI, he left the Pakistan captain totally bamboozled in the 2019 ODI World Cup. Former India batter Mohammad Kaif, however, feels it will be Mohammed Shami.
Kaif said Shami would give him a tough time to Babar in the Asia Cup. “Mohammed Shami is a fantastic bowler, his form is also very good. And even in Bumrah’s absence, he managed the bowling very well. Even his form in the IPL was great. So he has a lot of talent. In my opinion, Babar Azam is going to have a lot of difficulty,” Kaif said on Star Sports.
Shami has been a regular member of the Indian side for about 10 years now. He was the one who was called back into the side when Bumrah was ruled out of last year’s T20 World Cup with a stress fracture. The veteran right-arm seamer, who many believe, is turning up for his last ODI World Cup, would look to end on a high.
“For big games, there is always preparation as we have practiced in the training camp. I don’t think we have to analyze too much into the situation, we have the skill and the bowling lineup, so we don’t have to think too much. But I have to say one thing, whenever one-day matches come, there has to be focus. So to be focused and to have proper planning,” Shami said.
With a steady belief in the team’s skill and bowling lineup, Shami emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and adhering to well-structured planning during one-day matches. He also highlighted the importance of Bumrah’s return from injury.
‘Having Bumrah back makes our bowling combination set’: Shami
“Depends on whether I have the new ball or whether the team requires me at any stage during the match, I’m always on. I don’t have any hesitancy to bowl with the new ball or the old ball. I don’t have an ego like that. All three of us (Bumrah, Shami & Siraj) are bowling very well, so it depends on the management on who will play. There is only one goal, to go and give our 100%, the result will come running to us if we give our 100%. So it is very important to focus and execute, it’s a very simple plan.
“There is too much talk about the white ball or red ball, if you bowl in the right areas I don’t think that there is any difficulty in any ball. For a long time we didn’t have Jassi (Bumrah), so we felt the loss of a good player like him. You sometimes feel like ‘I wish this player was there’, to make your combination set. So having Jassi, especially in the white-ball format, has made our bowling very strong. So you know having Jassi in the team has made us stronger, he’s looking fit and he’s playing well, hopefully, we have a good Asia Cup.”