Shami currently a better bet with the new ball than Bhuvi: Nehra

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23 Oct 2021 | 06:12 AM
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Shami currently a better bet with the new ball than Bhuvi: Nehra

The former Indian pacer feels Bhuvneshwar Kumar will need time to get back to his best

Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra feels that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is currently “nowhere near his best” and won’t fit into team India’s best XI at the T20 World Cup, with Mohammed Shami, according to him, being a better bet with the new ball.

Bhuvneshwar had a stellar start to 2021 where he wreaked havoc in the white-ball series against England, but things went downhill for the 31-year-old after April, as he had an ordinary first half of IPL 2021 and an underwhelming Sri Lanka tour. He had an even worse second half of IPL 2021, and he will thus enter the T20WC in no rhythm, having also not impressed in the warm-up matches.

Nehra feels that Bhuvneshwar will need time to get back to his best, owing to which, he feels, Shami and Shardul Thakur might be better options for India at the World Cup.

"At this moment, Bhuvi is nowhere near his best. I understand the struggles of coming back from injuries. He will need another six months of training and he will be back at his best," Nehra told TOI.

"At the moment, Shami is a better bet with the new ball who is more likely to pick up wickets. The death overs can be taken care of by Bumrah, Shardul and Varun Chakravarthy maybe.”

According to the former pacer, who featured in the 2016 World T20, Bhuvneshwar is not struggling with accuracy, but is rather finding it difficult to generate the zip off the wicket. This, Nehra feels, has diluted the threat of the right-armer.

"Skills and accuracy have never been an issue with Bhuvneshwar. It's the zip off the pitch that he used to get. When he was clocking 135 kmph regularly, he was hitting the bat hard which made him tougher to get away.”

With Hardik Pandya not bowling, Nehra feels that the chances of Bhuvneshwar making the starting XI are slim, owing to the 31-year-old not being at the top of his game. Team India rested Shami in the second warm-up match against Australia, almost hinting that they see the Bengal speedster as their first-choice partner for Jasprit Bumrah.

"It looks like India will have to go in with five bowlers. In this scenario, you need everyone at the top of their game. T20 maybe a fickle format yet you would need a solid attack like Delhi Capitals or Kolkata Knight Riders where you expect your five frontline bowlers to bowl 20 overs in most matches. 

“At the moment, India don't look like having such an attack with the need to fit in Shardul Thakur to lengthen the batting,” Nehra said.

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ICC World Twenty20, 2021IndiaMohammed ShamiBhuvneshwar KumarAshish Nehra

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