The only unbeaten team at the ongoing Cricket World Cup, India have already confirmed their position as table toppers in the ongoing league stage. The hosts have won all their matches and their final league fixture against Netherlands, which will be like a warm-up match for the semi-finals.
India have outplayed other teams in all departments during their ongoing campaign. In the bowling front, the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj have been the top form, and have been aided by spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. Shami had been benched for the first four games as India preferred using Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur as their two additional pacers.
Pandya’s injury vs Bangladesh forced the management to change their combination and introduce Shami as a specialist pacer. Since facing New Zealand in his first 2023 World Cup appearance, he has already overtaken all Indian bowlers in the wicket tally after only four matches. The veteran bowler is currently fourth in the overall wicket-tally with 16 dismissals, ahead of the likes of Jasprit Bumrah (15), Ravindra Jadeja (14), Kuldeep Yadav (12) and Mohammed Siraj (10).
Speaking to Sportskeeda, 2011 ODI World Cup winner Gautam Gambhir predicted that Shami would finish ahead of Bumrah in the wicket-tally at the end of the tournament. “I think Shami because people do not take on Jasprit Bumrah. He’s too good a bowler for an opposition to take him on. A lot of times, the best bowler will not have the most number of wickets. The reason is that the opposition thinks let’s see him off. If you observe Jasprit Bumrah’s initial spell, no one wants to take him on. A lot of times, the team’s best bowler would have a very good economy rate, but he won’t have a lot of wickets,” he said.
“I feel Shami (will take more wickets), from the point of view that opposition will look to attack him because of Jasprit Bumrah. And he’s bowling one change. I still feel Jasprit Bumrah is the X factor in the team. This Indian team is such a strong team because of him. But Shami will have more wickets,” he further added.
After the league stage, India have their semi-final scheduled for Wednesday, and are set to face New Zealand, who are currently fourth in the table. But even Pakistan and Afghanistan are currently challenging for the spot.