New Delhi, Oct. 17: Jasprit Bumrah's absence is a "big loss" for India, but Mohammed Shami can more than fill the void with his speed and skill sets, in the ICC T20 World Cup, feels Sachin Tendulkar.
Bumrah, who is out for an indefinite period of time due to a stress fracture on his back, was replaced in the main squad by Shami, who hasn't played a single T20I match since the last edition of World Cup in the UAE.
However, the crafty 32-year-old from Amroha dispelled all doubts about his fitness with a splendid three-wicket burst in the 20th over, ensuring India's six-run win over Australia in a warm-up game in Brisbane on Monday.
"Bumrah not being there is a big loss and we obviously needed a strike bowler. An out and out genuine fast bowler, who could attack batters and get wickets. Shami has proven that and he seems a good replacement," Tendulkar told PTI in an exclusive interview.
The maestro seemed very impressed with young left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh, who has shown a lot of heart in his short international career so far.
"Arshdeep has shown a lot of promise and he looks a balanced guy. And whatever I have seen of him, he looks a committed fellow because you can see a player, you can make out looking at his mindset," the legendary batter said.
For Tendulkar, committing to a specific plan is as important as devising one. "What I really like is that if Arshdeep has a plan, he commits to it and that is really, really important in this format as batters are going out and playing those extra shots and some innovative ones. So if you have a plan, commit to it."
India will be playing at the MCG, SCG, Adelaide and Perth (Optus Stadium) -- grounds with bigger side boundaries. Tendulkar believes for any captain, while picking his spinners in the first XI, dimensions of the ground will be paramount.
"With the turn you end up playing more in the direction of the turn and there are only few batters, who have been able to hit consistently against the turn. Normally, captains look at the boundary dimensions and decide which bowler (off-spinner/leg spinner or left-arm spinner) should play. You also look at the direction in which the breeze is blowing before picking a spinner.
"It also depends on bowling style and which areas one likes to attack. Whether it is more towards the batter's body or outside the off-stump. Ideally, if you pick an off-spinner, you would want to introduce him from the end where the off-side boundary is shorter in case batter wants to hit against the spin," he explained.
With Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik forming the likely top six, India might end up not playing their lone specialist left-handed batter, Rishabh Pant, at least in the opener against Pakistan.
While Tendulkar didn't want to comment on team combinations, he does believe that a left-hander in the batting line-up gives the kind of variety every team craves.
"Left handers without any doubt add in value and bowlers have to adjust, fielders have to adjust, and if they are able to rotate strike consistently, it is not something that the bowler enjoys.
"Look, I wouldn't go by just (top) three. You always play as a unit and one should see what works well. You can't go by top two or top three. As a unit, what you have is important and then to figure out whom to send at what position, and also check what is the opposition's strength."
India haven't done too well in T20Is while defending but Tendulkar attributed a lot of that to conditions and toss.
"I think sometimes it is also the conditions and defending totals has been a problem. Conditions do change during the course of the game and chasing does become easier.
"At certain venues, toss becomes important when you know dew is going to be a factor. Whatever the runs you score, once the ball starts getting wet and outfield gets wet, then you can still get out and score those extra runs than the side batting first," he signed off.