Former Indian leg-spinner Piyush Chawla has backed Mohammed Shami ahead of Shardul Thakur for the World Cup. Shami was at his absolute best in the first ODI against Australia at the IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali on Friday.
The right-arm pacer, who is known for his upright seam position, returned with his career-best figures of 5-51. Shami got the early wicket of Mitchell Marsh in the very first over whereas he also dismissed Steven Smith with a beautiful delivery. The gun-fast bowler also accounted for Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Short, and Sean Abbott in his fine spell.
On the other hand, Shardul Thakur went wicketless and conceded 78 runs in his 10-over quota. However, Thakur could have had a wicket if Shreyas Iyer had not bungled David Warner’s catch when the left-hander was on 14.
Thakur has the ability to break partnerships but he also concedes his runs at a high economy rate of 6.21 in ODI cricket.
However, Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid have spoken about the depth in the batting order and thus Thakur could be preferred ahead of Shami in the World Cup team.
Piyush Chawla said on ESPN Cricinfo, told ESPNCricinfo: “If we talk about Shardul’s batting, it’s not that he is somebody who will come and give you those quick fire 30, 40 runs off 20 balls. He’s a good player for a run-a-ball or sometimes maybe like 20-ball 25 runs. And if you talk about his bowling, I agree that he has picked up wickets and he has got quite a few of them. But his economy rate is always on the higher side.
“Also, if you talk about the conditions where India is going to play, most of the wicket is going to be a bit flat. So you need somebody who’s like a proper bowler, who can come in one change and still bowl at the 135-140 mark,” Chawla added.
Chawla showered praise on Shami for his impeccable line and length and bowling with the upright seam to reap rewards against Australia.
“The best part was the way he was bowling on that particular pitch and the way he hit those hard lengths. He is someone who keeps things very simple no matter how the wicket is or whether he is playing with red ball or white ball. He is somebody who bowls with an upright seam and you need this kind of seam position when you bowl on these kind of tracks.”
The second ODI between India and Australia will be played on Sunday.