India bowlers must start delivering in final overs: Dravid

India bowlers must start delivering in final overs: Dravid

NEW DELHI: India’s T20 bowlers need to lift their game in the final overs, head coach Rahul Dravid has said, after pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah’s injury ruled him out of this month’s World Cup.

Rohit Sharma’s men have haemorrhaged runs at the tail-end of their recent T20 series against both South Africa and Australia, conceding 73 in the last five overs of Tuesday’s loss to the Proteas at Indore.

“We have to look at how we can get better,” Dravid told reporters after the match. “Certainly that’s an area that we would like to improve and get better at because margins can be really small in these big tournaments, and every boundary can matter.”

A back injury to Bumrah, who is known as “yorker king” for his ability to bowl the toe-crushing deliveries, has been a big blow to India ahead of the showpiece T20 tournament in Australia, which starts on Oct 16.

Dravid said the team will miss the speedster but are in no hurry to name his replacement.

“Bumrah’s absence is a big loss, he’s been a great player but it happens, it’s an opportunity for someone else to stand up,” Dravid said.

The head coach added that Mohammed Shami would be an “ideal” replacement but it was too soon to tell whether the pacer had recovered from his recent bout with Covid.

“We have to get reports as to how he is recovering and what’s his status… and we will take a call,” he said.

Shami, Deepak Chahar and Mohammed Siraj are seen as the front-runners to replace Bumrah. While Siraj and Chahar were part of India’s 2-1 T20 series win over South Africa, Shami has been out of action after failing to recover in time.

“Shami obviously is someone who’s in the standbys, but unfortunately for us, he couldn’t play this [South Africa] series, which would have been ideal from that perspective,” Dravid told reporters.

Shami is undergoing recovery at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. The Indian team management and selectors have until Oct 15 to name the replacement.

Captain Rohit Sharma said the team would be looking at players who have previous experience of bowling in Australia.“I don’t know who that guy is yet. There are a few guys in the reckoning for that, but we’ll make that call once we reach Australia,” he added.

Top-ranked India’s World Cup squad will depart for Perth on Thursday to get used to local conditions. They begin their World Cup campaign in Melbourne against arch-rivals Pakistan on Oct 23.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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