Mohammed Shami is the kind of bowler that gives a captain confidence – confidence that he can pick up wickets, maybe throw in a bit of chin music, if necessary, and reverse-swing the ball with great potency, something so essential in Indian conditions.
So, when the selectors decided to stick with the same squad for the remaining two Test matches – Hardik Pandya was left out of the squad due to injury – there was a tinge of disappointment at Shami not being recalled.
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It is understandable why Shami was not picked for these matches against Australia, what with the fast bowler only recently returning from a knee injury, and India not wanting one of their great fast bowling hopes to break down again.
But, if, as the bowler himself as said, he was fit enough to be given a go in five-day cricket, he really should have been.
There has been very little missing from this India vs Australia Test series so far, but what would have added an extra layer of quality and spice to the contest would have been Shami's inclusion.
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Imagine how great it would have been to see Shami and Umesh Yadav put on a reverse-swinging clinic against the Aussie batsmen, moving the ball both ways and making the opposition batsmen hop around the crease with some aggressive bowling as well.
Ishant Sharma has been outstanding with the ball, particularly during that unforgettable morning session on day two of the second Test in Bengaluru, but Shami gives you more opportunities to pick up wickets.
After playing both Test matches, and bowling a total over 47 overs, Ishant has managed just two wickets. While those numbers don't tell the whole story, Ishant really needs to be more of a wicket-taking option, rather than just a containing one, and India could have really used the potency of Shami, who, when fit, is India's best fast bowler.
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar is also there as an option for India, but on the Ranchi wicket, which is expected to be slow and low, he is not expected to feature. Bhuvneshwar might come into play in Dharamsala, where there should be more on offer for the fast bowler, but in Ranchi Shami is the one who could have done the most damage, especially if the conditions offer reverse-swing.
With this series perfectly poised at 1-1,hopefully, India will not regret not having that special fast bowler, who can turn the game around with one magical, and more crucially, wicket-taking spell.
India squad for last two Tests against Australia:
Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.