Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar believes Jasprit Bumrah is indispensable to the national team, given how he lifts the other bowlers in the side. Gavaskar's statement follows Bumrah's omission from the T20 World Cup squad due to a back injury.
On Monday, the BCCI officially ruled the right-arm speedster out of the upcoming T20 World Cup Down Under. The 28-year-old reportedly had a stress reaction that likely resurfaced after playing the final two T20Is of the three-match series against Australia. The BCCI is yet to announce his replacement.
In his column for Mid-Day, Gavaskar wrote that Bumrah's absence dents India's chances significantly in Australia. However, the 73-year-old feels Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh have given India hope of filling the void of the senior pacer.
"Jasprit Bumrah's absence from the Indian team for the World Cup will hurt India considerably. There's no other player in the Indian team, with due respect to every other player, whose absence means so much than Bumrah. We saw in the two games that he played how effective he was and how his presence in the team galvanized the other bowlers."
The 125-Test veteran continued:
"Whether he made the comeback too soon, is now something in the nature of conjecture, but the fact remains that his absence is a huge blow for India’s prospects in the T20 World Cup. The way Deepak Chahar and young Arshdeep Singh exploited the conditions in Thiruvananthapuram does give hope that, with a bit of luck, they can fill in a fair bit of the hole left by Bumrah's absence."
While Mohammed Siraj replaced Bumrah in the squad for the ongoing T20I series against South Africa, Mohammad Shami remains one of the frontrunners to take his spot in the T20 World Cup contingent. However, Shami, who is amongst the reserve players, hasn't played a T20I since November 2021.
"He will once again be the player to watch out for" - Sunil Gavaskar on Axar Patel
Gavaskar observed that left-arm spinner Axar Patel has done a brilliant job so far in filling in for Ravindra Jadeja by translating his IPL performances for India. He added:
"Ravindra Jadeja's absence is being made up to a great extent by Axar Patel and the way he is bowling does give the belief that he can limit the runs as well as take wickets. Over the years, he has added variety by the deft use of the crease and also the delivery speeds and angles. All the experience gathered in the IPL has been put to great use by the left-handed all-rounder. He will once again be the player to watch out for.
The Men in Blue have sealed the T20I series against South Africa with one game to go. They will open their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan at the MCG on October 23.