The fact that India can keep players of the experience and class of Mohammed Shami and R Ashwin on the bench tells the strength of the squad.
After his five-wicket haul against New Zealand, Mohammed Shami said that he was fine with being on the bench as it was in the team’s interests and that the team was winning even without him.
Due to the injury to Hardik Pandya, India were forced to veer away from their combination that had Shardul Thakur at number 8 to provide some batting depth, and bring in Suryakumar Yadav and Mohammed Shami for this important encounter against New Zealand in Dharamsala.
If it’s in the team’s interest, I am okay with it: Mohammed Shami
India won the match by 4 wickets courtesy of Mohammed Shami’s five-wicket haul and Virat Kohli acing another run-chase with his score of 95.
Shami became the first Indian bowler to take two five-wicket hauls in ODI World Cup history, having take one against England four years ago. Shami’s five-fer included wickets of the well-set centurion Daryl Mitchell and half-centurion Rachin Ravindra, both the best batters for New Zealand today.
In the post-match presentation, the senior fast bowler made a heart-winning statement that even if he was on the bench, he was supporting the players fully and was very happy with the team winning matches.
“When you come back after a long time to the XI, it is important to get confidence early. My first game in the (ongoing) World Cup helped me regain that confidence. It’s not too hard (waiting on the sidelines) if your team is doing well.
“They are your teammates and if they are doing well then you should be supporting them. If it’s in the team’s interest, I am okay with it. The wickets were important as it came against an opponent, which was sitting top of the points table going into this clash,” Shami said.
This brilliant performance from Mohammed Shami would force the management to retain him over Thakur even when Hardik Pandya is fit and available for the next game against England in Lucknow on October 29.