ICC ODI World Cup: India fast bowlers will be hard to stop at the World Cup

Jasprit Bumrah’s injuries have left a question mark over his availability. Yet, India need not be overly worried, for Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

  • Rohit Singh | January 22, 2023 | 4:42 pm

Eight overs into the second ODI, India had conceded six singles, three wides, and a leg-bye to New Zealand. In all, six of the 48 legal deliveries – fewer than a ball an over – had seen a run notched against the bowler. Mohammed Shami (4-1-5-2) and Mohammed Siraj (4-1-4-1) had taken out three wickets by then. This was not in windy Wellington where new-ball bowlers seem to beat the bat every time they do not take a wicket.

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New Zealand fought back after being 15-5, but were still bundled out for 108. Shami finished with 3-18 and Siraj 1-10. Their fellow seamers, Hardik Pandya (2-16) and Shardul Thakur (1-26) accounted for three more wickets. India won at a canter. New Zealand’s collapse took place six days after India had bowled out Sri Lanka for 73. On that occasion, Shami had taken 2-20 and Siraj 4-32. Of course, one may argue that Sri Lanka had crumbled under ‘scoreboard pressure’ – a target of 391 can do that.

Also Read: Mitchell Santner Leads New Zealand’s Rise in Spin Stocks

Indian Pace unit very strong and vital for world cup, Bumrah’s fitness still a concern

But at The Oval in July, Jasprit Bumrah (6-19) and Shami (3-31) reduced England to 26-5 before they somehow reached 110. Since the start of 2022, India have played 29 ODIs – eight more than any other side in the world. Their stars had stayed away from many of these. Some of these absences were due to injuries. Others can be attributed to them being rested for Test cricket and the T20 World Cup. Shreyas Iyer and Siraj, the only others to have played in 20, were standbys at the World Cup.

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What these experimental – it does not seem fair to call a team that has won 19 matches and lost eight ‘second-string’ – XIs have done is help India to build a cohort of fringe cricketers with experience at the top level. Jasprit Bumrah (108 wickets at 25.33) and Shami (148 at 25.62) stand out among India’s pace options. Shami’s strike rate of 27.5 means that he takes more than two wickets every 10 overs. Bumrah boasts of an economy rate of 4.65. Seldom have two fast bowlers of such quality assembled in an ODI unit.