Irfan Pathan backs Mohammed Shami as key to India's Champions Trophy defence

Irfan Pathan backs Mohammed Shami as key to India’s Champions Trophy defence

If you can keep bowling in the right areas and hit the seam, I think that's the best way to go for the bowlers: Irfan Pathan.

Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan.

India all-rounder Irfan Pathan was all praises for speedster Mohammed Shami who is expected to steam in during India’s Champions Trophy clash against Pakistan. Pathan also mentioned that India have what it takes to defend the title which they won in 2013 under MS Dhoni’s leadership.

Team India is all set to face off against arch-rivals Pakistan to kick off their Champions Trophy campaign this year. The defending champions were clinical in their two warm-up fixtures handing heavy defeats to both New Zealand and Bangladesh. The real test for India begins on June 4.

Irfan is familiar with the conditions in England, as he was a part of India’s victorious squad in 2013. Pathan reckoned the key to success for bowlers in England is to hit the seam well, and he backed Shami to do so during the fortnight-long tournament.

Key is to hit the seam well – Irfan Pathan

“What’s important in England is to hit the seam well. If you can keep bowling in the right areas and hit the seam, I think that’s the best way to go for the bowlers. With the kind of form our frontline pacers — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav — are in at the moment, I am sure India can do really well in the Champions Trophy. With the amount of experience they have in the home season and the Indian Premier League (IPL), I think they are up for the challenge in England,” he told IANS.

Pathan also shared that he was impressed with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah of late. Both youngsters were instrumental in their team’s success during the recently concluded IPL and were particularly brilliant in the death overs. Meanwhile, he also hailed Mohammed Shami for possessing the best position in international cricket today.

Shami has the most beautiful seam position

“I am really impressed with Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah’s bowling in international cricket, especially in one-dayers… as well as, for that matter, Shami and Umesh. Shami has been the bowler who can deliver with both the old and the new ball. He has got the most beautiful seam position I have ever seen in international cricket. He will be key to India’s success in the Champions Trophy,” he said.

Upon being asked if India trailing 1-2 head to head record against Pakistan in Champions Trophy matches will play on their minds, Irfan said, “Such advantages or disadvantages get an edge only to a certain extent. But it all boils down to how you tackle the situation during the match. Even during the 2013 Champions Trophy, the Indian team was a far better side and this time around, too, we have a complete team which is much better than the Pakistanis at the moment. I am pretty confident that India will go in as the favourites and come out with flying colours.”

India are pooled with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and current world no.1 South Africa in Group B. They take on Pakistan on June 4 at Edgbaston and move to London to clash against the Lankans and the Proteas at the Oval.