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Shastri: Bumrah and Jadeja's absence 'an opportunity to unearth a new champion' at T20 World Cup

Former India coach believes the side has enough depth to win the tournament should they start well

Deivarayan Muthu
Shastri feels Shami's experience in Australia can help him carry the mantle in Bumrah's absence  •  PA Photos/Getty Images

Shastri feels Shami's experience in Australia can help him carry the mantle in Bumrah's absence  •  PA Photos/Getty Images

Ravi Shastri believes that despite the injury-enforced absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, India have enough depth to win the T20 World Cup in Australia should they start the tournament well.
Axar Patel has slotted into India's T20I XI as a like-for-like replacement for Jadeja while Mohammed Shami has emerged as a frontrunner to take up Bumrah's spot in Australia. Batting allrounder Deepak Hooda, who was sidelined from the recent T20I series at home against South Africa, is believed to have recovered from a back niggle.
"[It's] unfortunate," Shastri said of Bumrah's injury at the launch of Coaching Beyond, his new initiative with B Arun and R Sridhar, at Lalaji Omega International School in Chennai. "There's so much cricket being played, and people get injured. He is injured, but it's an opportunity for somebody else. There is nothing you can do with injury.
"I think we have got enough strength and we have a good team. I have always believed if you make it to the semi-finals, it could be anyone's tournament. The endeavour would be to start well, get to the semis, and then you have got enough strength to probably win the [World] Cup, for all you know. Bumrah not being there, Jadeja not being there - it hampers the side - but it's an opportunity to unearth a new champion."
Former India bowling coach Arun, who is now with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL as their bowling coach, was also upbeat about India's chances at the T20 World Cup in Australia.
"The expectation is that India has to keep winning," Arun said. "If they lose, people tend to criticise them. They are showing a lot of promise, especially in World Cup events, and Australian conditions will suit them."
After India won the T20I series against South Africa 2-1, India captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid hinted at Shami stepping in as Bumrah's replacement, given his experience in Australian conditions. Shami has played just a solitary T20I in Australia but has been impressive in Tests and ODIs across multiple tours in the country. He has taken 31 wickets in eight Tests to go with 22 wickets in 14 ODIs. Seventeen of those ODI wickets came in the 2015 50-over World Cup, where he was India's second-highest wicket-taker and joint fourth-highest overall.
"Precisely, his experience [in Australian conditions is his strength]," Shastri said of Shami. "India have been there a lot in the last six years and he has been an integral part of all those tours. So that experience [of having done well in Australia] counts."
India Women one step away from winning something big - Shastri
Shastri was also enthused about the launch of the women's IPL next year and said that India Women are just one step away from winning a world tournament and creating an impact similar to what the India men's side did after winning the 1983 World Cup.
"Fabulous [on the launch of the women's IPL]," he said. "They are only that [little] far away from winning something big. You see what happened with the men's cricket team when they won the World Cup in '83. So, if the women win a World Cup, the interest that will be generated will be unbelievable. The more and more I see of the Indian women play, they are far more self-confident with the exposure they've got, and they have far more self-belief that they can actually go the distance."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo