Birmingham, June 30: Mohammed Shami completed a five-wicket haul against England on Sunday (June 30) in an ICC World Cup 2019 match that made many think that the Bengal pacer should have been India's first-choice partner of Jasprit Bumrah.
Shami took 5 for 69, his best ODI figures so far, to keep the pressure on England. He now has 13 wickets from three games and imagine that the pacer would not have got a chance had it not been for an injury to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bhuvneshwar had limped off the field in the match against Pakistan with a hamstring niggle and is still under recovery process. In the interim, Shami ensured that the absence of Bhuvneshwar would not felt taking a clutch of wickets. He also grabbed a hat-trick against Afghanistan to become just the second Indian bowler after Chetan Sharma (1987 vs New Zealand at Nagpur) to claim a hat-trick in the World Cup.
Cutting back to Shami's spell of the day, he started off on a rather modest note at Edgbaston when he went for a few runs against Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy. But he came back in the middle overs when England were going great guns and dished out a second spell that read 3-1-3-2. It triggered a period when England went boundaryless for nine straight overs and lost three wickets.
Shami mixed his length cleverly in that period and was not afraid to pitch it short even on a rather slow pitch. The wide bouncer he offered to England captain Eoin Morgan gave a peep into his hunger for wickets. He challenged Morgan for a pull and the left-hander could only gave a catch to Kedar Jadhav at square leg. It was a clever strategy and excellent execution seeing Morgan struggling and getting out to short ball by Australia's Mitchell Starc in their last match.
Though he went for a few runs in the death overs against Ben Stokes, Shami's burst in the middle overs gave India some respite from England's onslaught. Shami, meanwhile, has ensured that he is tough to overlook now even if Bhuvneshwar returns and may remain Bumrah's new-ball partner for a while.