Bumrah, Shami and who? Vettori and Chawla pick their India T20I pace attack
ESPNcricinfo's experts were divided between Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh for the third seamer's spot
India should pick their T20I seam attack from the quartet of Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh, ESPNcricinfo experts Daniel Vettori and Piyush Chawla have said. They were full of praise for Shami on ESPNcricinfo's analaysis show T20 Time:Out after his figures of 4-0-19-2 helped Gujarat Titans keep Chennai Super Kings down to 133 on Sunday.
Shami now has the joint-most wickets in the powerplay in IPL 2022, and he even bowled a boundary-less 20th over in which he got the wicket of MS Dhoni. Shami is joint-fourth on the wicket-takers' list, with 11 of his 18 wickets having come inside the powerplay. However, it is his maturity at the death that has impressed the experts.
"This is one of the best seasons for Shami," Chawla said. "Because we have seen him previously that he generally bowls well with the new ball and by the time he comes to bowl in the death overs he goes for a lot of runs. But this season he has worked on it, and he has bowled well in the death overs as well. We all know he can bowl really well with the new ball. The only problem was in the death overs. But this year he has shown that he has those clear plans for death overs, and he has executed those plans beautifully."
Vettori would have Shami even without that death-bowling improvement. "It shows that Test-match bowling works for the first sort of 16 overs of a T20 game," Vettori said. "He normally relies on heavy lengths, and a little bit of seam movement. We talked about how [Mohammed] Siraj has lost the ability of seam movement because of his seam position. Shami's seam position is impeccable.
"It is what all young fast bowlers should look at. His release and his ability to hit a consistent area and then letting the ball do the work. He is not asking too much of the ball. He is not trying to swing it too far. He just hits such lengths. And the improvement and maturity that we are talking about in the death bowling. Whereas in the past Shami could be hit or miss like Umesh Yadav. But now he actually has strong plans and backs himself to hit that yorker."
Both Chawla and Vettori had Shami in their first India XI, but disagreed on the third quick.
"If you talk about his [Shami's] current form, he definitely looks like one of them [three picks for an India pace attack]," Chawla said. "He has got pace, he has got that seam movement, the seam position and the wrist position is so amazing that even when there is nothing on the pitch he gets something out of it. Definitely, the way he is bowling, he should be one of the picks."
Vettori wouldn't even bowl Shami at the death, but would have Bumrah and Harshal do the job. "I think Bumrah and Harshal Patel have to be in the team because of their death bowling," Vettori said. "What they bring to the table. Harshal can bowl through those middle stages. The third seamer is tough to pick but Shami is potentially clearing out because of his ability to take wickets in the powerplay, bowl aggressively through the middle stages and with the back end taken care of by Bumrah and Harshal."
For Chawla the difficult choice is between Harshal and Arshdeep. He was full of praise for the Punjab Kings left-arm quick. "For me I think I still pick between Harshal and Arshdeep," Chawla said. "The way Arshdeep has bowled this tournament. He has just been outstanding at the death. He is somebody who doesn't use new ball much. There would be a pick between Harshal and Arshdeep, and Bumrah and Shami for sure. The powerplay is really important, and it is important to pick up wickets. Gujarat Titans have picked wickets in the powerplay, and that shows in the points table."
Among the 23 bowlers who have bowled a minimum of eight overs at the death during this IPL, Arshdeep has the best economy rate of 7.14, over 14 overs. Bumrah is second with 7.46 in 14.2 overs. Harshal has gone at 9.46 an over but has picked up more wickets than Arshdeep and Bumrah.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo