Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has given a stern comment on India’s choice of picking Shardul Thakur over Mohammed Shami in their ODI playing XI.
In recent times, Rohit Sharma has been talking about batting depth in the side. And for that India made the bold call of dropping Mohammed Shami and picking Shardul Thakur in the pace attack along with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in their Group A encounter of the Asia Cup 2023 against Pakistan.
Shami then played against Nepal when Bumrah had returned home for the birth of his child. With their playing XI against Pakistan, India made it clear that they see Siraj as a more wicket-taking option – especially with the new ball – than Shami, and Shardul as a more all-round cricketer than Shami.
With Bumrah returning in the side for Sunday’s clash against Pakistan in the Super 4 round, Shami is once again likely to be dropped with Siraj and Shardul retaining their place.
You can’t buy experience: Harbhajan Singh on the Shami vs Shardul debate
Shardul Thakur has in the past shown some batting pedigree, but he’s clearly less experienced and an expensive pacer than Shami. Harbhajan believes that in the search of batting depth with Thakur, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid shouldn’t drop a match-winner like Shami.
“I believe Shami should play. You can’t buy experience, and an experienced player like Shami sitting out, it doesn’t sit right with me. Shami should play before Siraj. If you really want to play Siraj, don’t expect batting from Shardul Thakur. You have batters till no.7, then have proper bowlers. Tell your batters to score runs, and even if we score 260, it’s the bowlers’ responsibility to defend the total,” Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel.
Harbhajan Singh said that the captain and coach should ask their batsmen to do the heavy lifting and score runs rather than hoping that their number 8 – Thakur – will be needed with the bat.
“Many people say Shardul can bat and ball, I agree. But we can’t go into a game half-heartedly. Can Siraj do what Shardul does? If he can do better, strengthen the bowling and tell your batters to score,” Harbhajan Singh added.
India and Pakistan will face off in Colombo on Sunday.