'Important to protect Bumrah', says Rohit

Speaking at the captains’ media interaction ahead of the T20 World Cup, Rohit gave an update on Shami, who has been drafted into the squad despite having not played a competitive game since July.
The captains of the participating countries pose with the ICC World T20 trophy in Melbourne on Saturday
The captains of the participating countries pose with the ICC World T20 trophy in Melbourne on Saturday

MELBOURNE: The India team could not have risked playing star pacer Jasprit Bumrah in the T20 World Cup with a dodgy back while his replacement Mohammed Shami is on his way to full recovery from COVID-19, said captain Rohit Sharma here on Saturday.

Speaking at the captains’ media interaction ahead of the T20 World Cup, Rohit gave an update on Shami, who has been drafted into the squad despite having not played a competitive game since July.

“Shami had COVID two-three weeks ago. He was called to the NCA then, he worked hard for the last 10 days and he is in Brisbane. He will practice with us tomorrow (Sunday),” Rohit said.

“Whatever we have heard on his recovery is positive. He did three four bowling sessions with full intensity. We have made a lot of effort to do player management over the last 12 months but injuries happen. If you see, whoever has come into the squad, he has got matches under his belt.”

Bumrah was ruled out of the tournament with a back injury, leaving a big hole in the bowling department. While the batting has come a long way in the last one year, bowling remains the team’s weak link.

“Bumrah is a quality bowler. We spoke to a lot of specialists about his (back) injury but the response was not very positive. World Cup is important but his career is more important, he is only 27-28.

“We could not have risked playing him here, that is what the specialists also said. We will miss him,” said Rohit.

Injuries are unfortunate but inevitable and that is one of the main reasons why India focused on creating a bigger pool of players over the last 12 months, said the skipper.

Be it in batting or bowling, India gave a lot of opportunities to youngsters after its early exit from the World Cup 12 months ago, besides changing its playing style.

“Injuries are part and parcel of the sport. If you play so many matches, injuries will happen. Our focus in the last one year has been on increasing our bench strength. You must have seen we played new guys whenever there was an opportunity,” he said.

Rohit said the team has to make the best use of available resources rather than thinking about the injured.

“There is no point being disappointed about it. What needs to be done is the important thing. It was a conscious effort to come here (Australia) early, we played two practice games and two more to go.

“We will be fully prepared before the first game (against Pakistan on October 23). There is no last-minute decisions to be made. All the concerned players have been informed in advance,” he said referring to the India’s playing eleven for the big game.

He also has high expectations from Suryakumar Yadav in this tournament. Suryakumar has been India’s number one T20 batter over the last 12 months.

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