Former India chief selector Saba Karim has opened up on Jasprit Bumrah missing the upcoming T20 World Cup. Karim admits that Bumrah's absence will be a blow but has backed Mohammed Shami to fill the gap.
Bumrah has reportedly suffered a stress fracture on his back, ruling him out of the T20 series against South Africa. The 28-year-old's injury is likely to keep him out of the World Cup, with Shami as one of the contenders to replace him.
Karim admitted that even though Mohammed Shami hasn't played in a while, he feels the veteran has the ability to strike with the new ball. Reflecting on Shami's IPL 2022 performance, the 54-year-old said on Sports 18's show Sports Over The Top:
"I’ll go ahead with Mohammed Shami because he will find form although he hasn’t played. He’s that kind of bowler who once given an opportunity, he can always step up and do the job for India.
"Plus, with this kind of experience, you need somebody at the top who can pick you wickets. You’ve seen Mohammed Shami in the last Indian T20 league, he’s such a bowler who can pick wickets with the new ball in the power play and India needs that."
Shami last played a T20I in November of 2021 and has taken 18 scalps in 17 games in the format. The fast bowler picked up 20 scalps in 16 matches at 18.85, playing an integral role in Gujarat Titans' title victory in IPL 2022.
"Other bowlers they really need to step up and do the job for India" – Saba Karim
Karim believes Bumrah's absence can impact India's death-bowling. He feels that other bowlers in the side now have to step up to the task. Karim explained:
"You have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, now what we saw in the last game, Arshdeep Singh can step up. We also have someone like Mohammed Shami. But to bowl in the death overs especially under pressure, you need someone who’s aware of his abilities and he bowls according to that.
"So, in that sense, without Jasprit Bumrah, the other bowlers they really need to step up and do the job for India. That may not be so easy."
India won the first T20I against South Africa by eight wickets. The two sides will clash in the second T20I in Guwahati on Sunday (October 2).