'Isn’t Mohammed Shami more a threat to Pakistan batters than Shardul Thakur' - Sanjay Manjrekar condemns senior pacer's exclusion in IND vs PAK
"People talk about batting depth but what about bowling depth?" reckoned Manjrekar.
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Indian team management took a bold decision on Saturday in favor of Shardul Thakur as they decided to bench Mohammed Shami against arch-rivals Pakistan. The idea behind the move was to play an extra all-rounder, who could contribute with the bat if needed. However, this decision didn’t sit well with former India international Sanjay Manjrekar, who criticized the think tank and stated that they were insecure about their batting and hence, in the end, didn’t give much attention to bowling.
In the end, Shardul couldn’t prove much with the bat as he managed to score only three runs. Manjrekar meanwhile added that Shami is far superior to the Palghar-born cricketer when it comes to threatening the opponent batters and hence, he should have made it to the playing XI.
“I am against this thought. People talk about batting depth but what about bowling depth?" Manjrekar said while talking to Star Sports.
“Isn’t Mohammed Shami more a threat to Pakistan batters than Shardul Thakur? I wouldn’t worry about batting depth but leaving someone put like a Shami, especially on a surface where you see the ball seam around, India should have gone with three quality seamers. It just shows signs of insecurity and not trusting you batters in (Ravindra) Jadeja at No.7,” he said.
On the other hand, former India head coach Ravi Shastri also expressed his shock to not see Shami in the playing XI.
Meanwhile, it is unclear if it’s a long-term planning or a short-term. Shami has been terrific for the national team in both ODI and Test formats and hence, he is expected to play a massive role in the upcoming ODI World Cup. However, with Shardul playing ahead of him against Pakistan in their inaugural match of Asia Cup 2023, things are not clear at the moment. Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah remain India’s go-to pacers and the think tank may take a call on the third pacer depending on the opponent and surface.