Team India pacer Mohammed Shami registered career-best ODI figures of 5/51 in the first one-dayer against Australia in Mohali on Friday, September 22. However, former batter Aakash Chopra reckons that the Men in Blue still won’t play Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah together in the 2023 World Cup due to their obsession with the No. 8 position.
India preferred Siraj, Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya as their three pace-bowling options in the Asia Cup, with Shardul Thakur batting at No. 8 in some of the games. Shami made a comeback to the playing XI for the Mohali ODI as Siraj was rested.
Although Thakur went for 78 runs in his 10 overs, Chopra reckons that the Men in Blue are unlikely to shun the No. 8 experiment for an extra pacer in the World Cup. Speaking on his YouTube channel [2:15], he commented:
“Shami grabbed the limelight on a road-like flat pitch. The delivery that got Steve Smith out was the ball of the match. It was a really good delivery. The debate was over what India needed – runs from the batter at No. 8 or wickets from Shami. But I still feel India won’t play Shami, Siraj and Bumrah together.
“I feel they are still obsessed with the No. 8 position and that’s why they won’t go in with these three fast bowlers together. The third pacer is likely to be Shardul and the third spinner if needed could be Axar or Ashwin. But still, Shami was sensational,” he added.
While Shami claimed a memorable five-wicket haul, Ravichandran Ashwin registered figures of 1/47 on his ODI comeback. Ravindra Jadeja and Bumrah also chipped in with a wicket each.
“India need to improve their fielding and catching” – Aakash Chopra
Even though India eased to victory in the first ODI against Australia, Chopra opined [10:10] that their poor fielding in the match is a cause for concern. Shreyas Iyer dropped a sitter early in the match, while KL Rahul missed a simple stumping and also fumbled a few balls behind the stumps. Chopra concluded:
“KL Rahul captained well. Thakur was expensive, still India were able to restrict the opposition. He made the right bowling changes. Wicket-keeping was 50-50. Shreyas also dropped a catch. India need to improve their fielding and catching. If they don’t do it, they will get found out somewhere.”
India will face Australia in the second ODI at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Sunday, September 24.