Ever since Mohammad Shami got smashed around in the T20 World Cup in UAE in 2021, it has become a sin to criticise his performances as online trolls make it an attack on his religion. Indian selectors obviously recognized the fact that Shami is not a good T20 bowler and didn’t play him at all in 2022, so nobody envisaged him as a part of the T20 World Cup squad.
However, trying to trigger a communal argument, Navbharat Times has questioned if Shami hasn’t been included due to his religion. The fast bowlers India has selected for the World Cup include Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Harshal Patel.
Either the selected bowlers are India’s best performers over the years in T20s, like Bumrah and Bhuvi, or they have been the best death bowlers in IPL, like Harshal and Arshdeep. In fact, Arshdeep nearly defended 7 off the last over twice in Asia Cup when all hope was lost, showcasing his death-over abilities.
In the face of such stiff competition, Mohammad Shami missed out, as expected. Anyone who understands cricket knows that Shami doesn’t fit into the T20 side, he bleeds too many runs, as his career economy rate of nearly 10 RPO suggests. This is not test cricket where Shami can be absolutely unplayable, and this is not about religion. This is only about the players and where they play best.
For the benefit of Navbharat Times writers, Shami has played 17 T20 Internationals since his debut 8 years ago. During that period, he has conceded runs at 9.54 runs per over while taking a wicket at an average of 31.55. Maybe, just maybe, it is not about religion, it is more about the fact that Shami is below average in this format.
For the past year or so, there have been multiple attempts to divide Indian cricket fans along the axis of religion, and looks like Navbharat Times has joined the effort, but it won’t be so easy.