Sunil Gavaskar, a legendary Indian cricketer, was not thrilled to see pace Mohammed Shami gifting Australian openers early free throws in his opening stint on Thursday. The Indian playing XI selected pace ace Shami for the series-deciding match against Steve Smith’s Australia after Shami was rested for the third Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Shami gave Rohit Sharma and company a bad start at the Narendra Modi Stadium by allowing 10 runs to go through his opening over of the Australian innings.
In the third Test against Australia in Indore, which India lost by nine wickets, senior pacer Umesh Yadav was chosen over Shami. While providing commentary during Shami’s first over, batting veteran Gavaskar criticised the Indian think tank, saying that the hosts made a mistake by resting the senior fast bowler. Gavaskar noted that Shami, a pacer, is the type of bowler who prefers to be in the rhythm.
“Resting Mohammed Shami was not a smart move. You had 8 days break between the 2nd and the 3rd Test. He bowled military medium in his first two deliveries. That’s how it’s got to be. The batter is nervous, he is not yet off the mark. If he sees the ball go harmlessly to the keeper, he gets an opportunity to see what the pitch is doing. He can then mentally start to relax just that little bit,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
Before veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin gave India its first wicket, Australian openers Travis Head and Usman Khawaja scored 61 runs in 15.2 overs. Even Shami’s sidekick Umesh failed to claim a single wicket during the first day of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad. Shami recovered from a forgettable opening stint by collecting two wickets.
“Great bowlers were at you straightaway, from the first ball. He is just not getting his line right. Look at how far that went. It’s going to be called byes because it hasn’t gone away from the marker, which indicates wide. I think, you know that Mohammed Shami is the kind of bowler who likes to be in rhythm, maybe you shouldn’t rest him. I think it’s important to get your bowling muscles going, in the gym, you don’t get your bowling muscles going,” the former Indian skipper added.
India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey was questioned about the team’s choice to rest pacer Shami during a news conference following the conclusion of the day’s play. Pacers Shami and Mohammed Siraj participated in the first two Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test matches. In contrast to the hosts’ decision to rest speed merchant Siraj, Shami was reinstated to the playing Lineup for the fourth Test.
The bowling coach was asked whether fast bowlers’ rhythm takes a hit when they are given breaks during series.”You have to take a call as you also have to look at the individual workload of each bowler. I think the way we looked at Shami, we needed to give him that break and it was an opportunity for us that someone like Siraj or Umesh also get a game. Looking ahead after this series, we have the World Championship (final) and we need to look at that as well. You have to at times, rotate bowlers and it is important for players as well,” Mhambrey explained.
Shami made a strong recovery after a forgettable start to the series-deciding match as the star pacer dismissed Marnus Labuschagne (3) and Peter Handscomb (17) on Day 1 of the fourth Test at Ahmedabad. The choice bowler for the hosts turned out to be the pacer Shami. The quick Shami took two wickets while giving up 65 runs in 17 overs.
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