India preferred Bhuvneshwar Kumar over Mohammed Shami in the semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester on Tuesday. The team management's decision to go with Bhuvneshwar Kumar ahead of Mohammed Shami was heavily criticised by Shami's coach Badruddin Siddique, who slammed India's decision to not go in the semi-final with the in-form Shami who has picked 14 wickets in just four matches in the ongoing marquee tournament. India made just one change in their playing XI for the all-important semi-final clash, replacing Kuldeep Yadav with Yuzvendra Chahal.
With 14 wickets in the four games that Shami played in the World Cup so far, it was thought that the decision to keep him out of the playing XI for last group stage game against Sri Lanka was an attempt to keep the bowler fresh for the knockout stages. But that wasn't to be.
Speaking to IANS, Badruddin said that he was stunned to see his ward missing from the starting XI at the Old Trafford against New Zealand.
"Stunned. How can you drop someone after he has picked 14 wickets for you in four games? What more do you expect out of your fast bowlers? I thought the rest in the Lanka game was an attempt to keep him fresh for the knockouts. Clearly, my assessment was wrong," Badruddin rued.
Asked if elongating the batting was one of the reasons to play Bhuvneshwar Kumar over Shami, the coach said: "Really? If you have to bank on Shami or Bhuvi for batting, I think we are anyway losing the game. To be fair, if the top six cannot do the job, the remaining will not either. His role is to win games with the ball and I think he has proved himself despite not being given a start to begin with in the tournament."
The coach also ruled out any injury woes as far as Shami was concerned. "I last spoke to him after the West Indies game and I think the rhythm he hit was enough evidence that he has been supremely fit. If he had a fresh injury yesterday or the day before, then I am not aware of it," he said.
(With IANS inputs)