'Tough for Shami to replace Bumrah'

'Tough for Shami to replace Bumrah'

Dhoni feels India have a balanced bowling unit

'Tough for Shami to replace Bumrah'

Bowling has been a perennial chink in the armour of Indian cricket team. The chief cause of their dismal run in the 50-over format has been their death bowling. In the T20 format, however, the pieces of the puzzle have fallen beautifully in place. The attack has found its teeth through its variety and an effective mix of experience and youth.

The combination of Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah has shouldered the bowling responsibility with reassuring ease. Their consistency has lent stability to Indian unit ahead of the World T20, beginning March 15. With a seaming all-rounder in Hardik Pandya taking care of the middle overs, Dhoni has been able to use his most cherished weapon, off-spinner R Ashwin, beyond the curtailing role.

The mix has a look of permanence, so much so that Dhoni made it clear that it would be very difficult for the injured Mohammad Shami to replace Bumrah. Shami, who played a stellar role in the 2015 World Cup, has been out of action owing to injuries. 

“It looks very balanced as of now. Whether Shami is fit or not, we'll see. He still has a bit of time. The only reason he was picked was because, he is someone who can deliver with the old and new ball; yorkers being his strength. I think it's very difficult to replace Bumrah. He has the strength of bowling yorkers at will and with the new ball also he has contributed. Nehra has also contributed,” Dhoni said.

“If Jadeja or Pandya can bat no. 8 and they can give me three or four overs, then it looks like a better balanced side. For Shami to replace, it would be Ashish. Ashish is the only slot but to replace Ashish would be very tough. The reason being he's done very well for us, he's moved the ball around. Shami will have to prove his fitness in the warm-up games.”

Spinners have been the centre of Indian strategies and Dhoni said they would have a major role to play in the World T20. “We have been one team to stick to two spinners with three fast bowlers in this tournament. If you see, a lot of teams have played with four fast bowlers. But the spinners have picked wickets for us and more often than not, they have restricted the opposition. I feel spinners are always special irrespective of the format,” he said.

 “When it comes to this format it's not very easy to get away with just playing the big shots. You have to manouver around a bit. Our spinners did really well. Even when there was less deviation I think they varied pace and line and were able to contribute.”

That India has taken rapid strides in T20 international is evident from the way the side bounced back from their loss to touring South Africa last year. The recent combination seems to have addressed the shortcomings.

“If you see against South Africa, we were struggling. I think it was to some extent we didn’t have three fast bowlers. I think if you encounter a wicket that is more suitable to somebody who bowls 140-plus and if you don’t have somebody to do that job then you will be on the receiving end and that's what really happened,” he said.

“This team is suitable for different type of conditions but it is only the T20 format. It is because of the nature of the shorter format and the demands of the shorter format that these 15 players suit that kind of play.” 

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