India happy with pace options
Mohammed Shami took a hat-trick against Afghanistan while deputising for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bowling coach Bharat Arun believes India have “an embarrassment of riches” among the seamers in their World Cup squad after Mohammed Shami came to the fore against Afghanistan.
Shami was drafted into the side at the Hampshire Bowl last weekend in place of the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar and took four for 40, including a final-over hat-trick which extinguished any hope of a monumental upset.
Bhuvneshwar is back in contention following a tight hamstring ahead of Thursday’s meeting with the West Indies at Old Trafford, where India could all but secure a semi-final place with a win.
But Arun was giving little away as to who India would select from Bhuvneshwar and Shami, merely pointing out they are happy with the options at their disposal.
Arun said: “Bhuvneshwar’s injury is not of any great concern. It is just a niggle, which we didn’t want to take a chance with. And it was also an opportunity for us to plug Shami into the games.
“But the fact he’s done exceptionally well all goes well for us; it’s an embarrassment of riches.
“We would take a call as per the conditions, but Bhuvi has done exceptionally well, so I think it’s a pretty good headache to have.”
Shami’s fortunes contrast sharply with 12 months ago, when he was dropped from the side ahead of a Test against Afghanistan after failing a fitness test amid personal issues away from the game.
Arun added: “Shami was in a totally different mindset (a year ago).
“The head coach, me, all of us had to sit down and speak to him and kind of draw a future map for him and had to convince him regarding that. And he was going through certain personal problems as well at that point in time.
“Beyond all that, I think what has really got him into the situation that he is in his ability to play cricket and that’s exactly what we made him focus on. And I think the rest is there for everybody to see.”
The Windies have a number of batsmen, led by Chris Gayle, who are capable of routinely clearing the boundary rope, but that holds no fear for India’s bowlers, according to Arun.
He added: “They do have their strengths. And also it’s a big challenge for the bowlers too, especially when they come after you.
“But whenever batsmen come after you, if you’re willing to look at it deeply, there is a chance for the bowlers, and I think that’s what the bowlers would be looking to do.”