In the wake of team India crashing out of the 2022 Asia Cup, former India head coach Ravi Shastri has questioned the Men in Blue’s squad selection and has claimed that he was left baffled by the absence of veteran seamer Mohammed Shami.
Shastri has questioned team India’s choice to carry just three specialist fast bowlers in the 15-man squad — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan — and has criticized the alienation of Mohammed Shami, who in IPL 2022 played an integral role in Gujarat Titans lifting the trophy.
Shastri has expressed disbelief over the non-selection of Shami, who has not played a T20I since the World Cup last year in UAE, and has stated that he does not quite agree with the management’s decision to carry a boatload of spinners in the squad.
"When you need to win, you got to prepare better," Shastri told Star Sports.
"I think the selection could have been better, especially for the fast bowlers. You know the conditions here. There's not much in it for the spinners. I was quite surprised that you came here with just four fast bowlers [including Hardik].
"You needed that extra one… Someone like Mohammed Shami sitting at home and cooling his heels baffles me. After the IPL he had, for him not to be able to make the cut is… Obviously, I'm seeing something different."
It remains unclear whether Shami has been frozen out of the T20I set-up in order to preserve him for the other two formats where, the management feel, he’s far more valuable. The 32-year-old, this year, has played five Tests and three ODIs but not a single game in the shortest format for the national side.
Shastri admitted that workload management is important, but stressed that there are also ‘minus points’ to a player being overly preserved.
"No one ever wishes to sit out. Of course, there is something called workload management. I would agree with it, to an extent, but at times I think there are some minus points in it as well. I feel that at times when you are in good form and in great rhythm, you shouldn't stop playing.
“Of course, at times, I feel, for the sake of recovery, you need to take a break. You have to do it smartly."
The 60-year-old concluded by criticizing the team’s planning in the Asia Cup, restating that he was flabbergasted by the management’s decision to carry just three specialist pacers.
"When I say planning, there should have been one extra fast bowler. One spinner less in the [squad of] 15-16. You don't want to be caught in a situation where one guy has a fever and then you have no one else to play. You have to play another spinner, which can be embarrassing in the end,” Shastri said.
India will conclude their Asia Cup 2022 campaign against Afghanistan in Dubai on Thursday, September 8th.