NEW DELHI: Jasprit Bumrah’s recurring back injury has dealt a huge blow to Team India’s preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
After all, Bumrah is not the Indian pace spearhead for nothing. He is dangerous with the new ball and lethal with the old one. An expert in bowling yorkers at will.
But his injury has forced the Indian team management to look at other pace options available for the marquee event and the biggest question right now is who will lead the Indian pace attack in the absence of Bumrah? Mohammad Shami and Deepak Chahar are the two bowlers who were named as standbys when the BCCI announced the India squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
TimesofIndia.com here looks at the pacers named in the India squad for the World Cup and their strengths and weaknesses:
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Things change quickly in international cricket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the best bet to partner Bumrah with the new ball but things are different now.
Strengths: Can make the new white ball swing and can trouble the batsmen with his incoming deliveries. An able and experienced pacer.
Weaknesses: Has been expensive and too predictable in the death overs recently. That has shaken his confidence. Bowled three consecutive expensive 19th overs against different opposition in three matches recently.
Mohammed Shami: Mohammed Shami’s exclusion from the first 15 was a big surprise, though he was named among the stand-by players who will travel with the team to Australia. But now he may be drafted into the main squad in the absence of Bumrah.
Strengths: Can hurry up the batsmen with his speed. Will enjoy bowling on the bouncy tracks of Australia. Can generate swing.
Weaknesses: Shami had a poor outing in the last T20 World Cup played last year in the UAE, especially in the crucial match against Pakistan, he was guilty of bowling too short and conceded 43 runs off 3.5 overs. The Aussie conditions of course are likely to suit his style of bowling, especially with the new ball much more.
Arshdeep Singh: The left-arm pacer has given a good account of himself in his short T20I career so far. Can swing the new ball to great effectiveness like he recently showed against South Africa.
Strengths: In swinging conditions Arshdeep can be lethal. He can also dry up runs in the death overs by bowling full length deliveries. Has a good yorker. Brings variety to the Indian pace bowling attack and is a quick learner.
Weaknesses: Lack of experience of bowling in Australia. Has little experience going into the World Cup. Australian tracks won’t offer too much swing.
Harshal Patel: A fine back-up bowler who can rattle the batsmen.
Strengths: Was India’s second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year before the T20I series against Australia. Is a potent death-overs bowling option. Has multiple variations including the slow bouncer and cutters.
Weaknesses: No bowling experience in Australia and the big grounds can be intimidating. Confidence can be dented if he goes for runs early.