Bengaluru, September 30: Former India selector Saba Karim on Friday (September 30) backed Mohammed Shami to replace Jasprit Bumrah in the T20 World Cup 2022 squad and do the job for India at upcoming the show-piece event in Australia.
India were dealt a huge blow after pace spearhead Bumrah was ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to a back injury. Bumrah, who missed the first T20I against South Africa on Wednesday (September 28), was ruled out of the ongoing series on Thursday (September 29).
Former selector and wicketkeeper Saba Karim said losing a 'unique bowler' like Bumrah, who can bowl with the new ball as well as in the death overs, is a massive blow.
"Yes, he's such a unique bowler. In the T20 format, you need someone who can bowl with the new ball and pick wickets and then can come back to finish his spell in the death overs," Karim said on SPORTS18's daily sports news show 'SPORTS OVER THE TOP'.
"He's (Bumrah) extremely effective and plus his match awareness, he's kind of part of the leadership group for the national side now. So yes, I think without him this will be a massive blow for India."
Bumrah featured in the final two T20Is against Australia, but before that he only played T20Is during the tour to England. The 28-year-old had missed a couple of bilateral series as well as the Asia Cup before returning to action in the home series against Australia.
Saba Karim feels the captain and team management were prepared for something like this and believes there is a reason why Shami and Deepak Chahar were among the stand-bys for the World Cup.
"But you know one can sense that the Indian team management and the Indian captain were kind of preparing for this. That's why they thought of bringing in Shami and they also have Deepak Chahar on stand-by. So, I think it's good in a way that India played all these bilateral engagements without Jasprit Bumrah in the line-up."
Mohammed Siraj has been drafted into the squad for the South Africa series, but Shami, who is on the stand-bys is among one of the pacers expected to replace Bumrah in the T20 World Cup squad.
Shami was picked for the bygone Australia series, but had to miss out after testing positive for COVID on the eve of the first T20I. The 32-year-old, however, has test negative now and is in-line to return to the Indian T20 set up.
And the former selector Karim has backed Shami among the available options to replace Bumrah in the India squad for the T20 World Cup.
"I'll go ahead with Shami because he will find form although he hasn't played but he's that kind of bowler who once given an opportunity he can always step up and do the job for India," Karim added.
"Plus, with this kind of experience, you need somebody at the top who can pick you wickets and you've seen Shami in the last IPL, he's such a bowler who can pick wickets with the new ball in the power play and India needs that.
"So, if Mohammed Shami can pick up early wickets with the new ball, that's the kind of start India would need while defending the target or while trying to restrict the opposition from setting a huge target."
Karim further spoke about India's bowling performance especially in the death overs and feels the experienced Shami can fill the void left by Bumrah.
"Yeah, it does. With the new ball, you do have some viable options. You have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, now what we saw in the last game, Arshdeep Singh can step up. We also have someone like Shami," Karim said.
"But to bowl in the death overs especially under pressure, you need someone who's aware of his abilities and he bowls according to that. So, in that sense, without Bumrah, the other bowlers they really need to step up and do the job for India. That may not be so easy."
India will continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup with two more matches against South Africa at home on October 2 and October 4 before jetting out to Australia.