Former cricketer Aakash Chopra has criticised Team India captain Rohit Sharma’s decision to replace Mohammed Siraj with Mohammad Shami as a new ball pacer during the World Cup final against Australia on November 19.
Siraj had accompanied ace India pacer Jasprit Bumrah in the opening spell, while Shami was used after the ball became a bit old. The plan saw some modifications after India put up a total of 240 in the summit clash.y
Perhaps considering the wicket-taking ability of Shami, skipper Rohit decided to bestow the responsibility of the new ball on the veteran pacer, alongside Bumrah.
The decision did pay off as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami managed to dismiss three Australian players– David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Steven Smith– early in the powerplay.
Speaking about this topic on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra said, “We started well with the ball but were slightly wayward because we were going left-right too much. We were thinking about picking up wickets quickly because we didn’t have runs on the board. We went with Shami instead of Siraj because we didn’t have runs on the board.”
Keeping aside the positive outcome, Aakash Chopra felt it was unfair to Mohammed Siraj, who might have been expecting to get a chance to bowl with the new ball. Acknowledging Mohammad Shami’s efforts, Chopra said, “When we did that, Shami did pick up a wicket, but Siraj got marginalized. He didn’t get a chance at all. His game was almost over because you couldn’t bring him in.”
Mohammed Siraj had been a regular feature for Team India during the World Cup. In 11 games, the 29-year-old claimed a total of 14 wickets. Meanwhile, Mohammad Shami was out of India’s playing eleven in the first four league games.
He got the call-up after all-rounder Hardik Pandya was ruled out of the tournament due to an injury. Shami’s inclusion came as a blessing for the hosts. Shami capped off the tournament as the highest wicket-taker. His tally of 24 wickets also included as many as three five-wicket hauls.
Mohammad Shami, however, failed to shell out his A-game when India desperately needed a wicket in the final against the Aussies. After Australia went three wickets down, Travis Head paired up with Marnus Labuschagne. Instead of going for any risky shots, both the batters decided to give themselves time to settle at the crease.
When Head was dismissed for 137 runs, they had already racked up a 192-run partnership, paving the way for a comfortable win. Glenn Maxwell scored the winning runs for Australia to secure a 6-wicket victory.