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Asia Cup: There are better T20 bowlers than Mohammed Shami in India, claims Ricky Ponting
- Mohammed Shami was not picked in India’s Asia Cup squad
- He has 18 wickets in 17 T20Is for India
- Asia Cup is scheduled to begin on Aug. 27 in the UAE
Former Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting has said there are "better" T20 bowlers than Mohammed Shami in Indian cricket, further adding that the pacer's strengths lie in Tests.
Ahead of the Asia Cup, which will be played in the T20 format, India are without Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel due to injuries. While many had felt India would pick Shami in the squad, the Men in Blue instead went with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Arshdeep Singh, and Avesh Khan as their four pacers for the multi-team event.
"He's (Shami) been a very, very good bowler for India for a long time now. If you look at his strengths, his Test cricket is probably where he thrives the most. I think there are better fast bowlers in Indian T20 cricket than Shami and they've only named three (for the Asia Cup). So if there's potentially four named in the squad he might be the fourth man in," Ponting said in the latest episode of The ICC Review.
Shami, who was a part of the Indian side that failed to qualify for the semi-final at the T20 World Cup in 2021, has played 17 T20Is so far. His last appearance in the shortest format for India was in the tournament against Namibia on Nov. 8, 2021. In 17 T20Is, Shami has picked up 18 wickets.
Ponting, who is the current coach of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) believes India will bring four fast bowlers to Australia for the T20 World Cup later this year, while they'll also add a lot of spinners to their squad even though the conditions are not too favourable for them.
"I would think they'll probably only have the four quicks coming to Australia. They'll still want to bring a lot of spin here even though the wickets are probably not that conducive," the former Australian skipper added.
Meanwhile, Ponting has backed India to win the Asia Cup, which is scheduled to begin on Aug. 27 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). India's tournament opener is against Pakistan on Aug. 28 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
"It's always hard to go past India in any tournament, not just an Asia Cup, but I think every time we talk about the T20 World Cup which is coming up, I think that India will be right in the thick of it there. Their depth is definitely better than the other teams and I think India will win the Asia Cup," Ponting said.
Earlier, the 47-year-old Ponting predicted India would beat Pakistan in their group fixture.
"I'll stick with India to win that clash against Pakistan. That's taking nothing away from Pakistan because they are an incredible cricket nation that continues to present out-and-out superstar players," added Ponting.
India's Asia Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan. Standby: Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar.
India have a superior head-to-head record of 7-2 against Pakistan in the T20Is. However, in their last meeting, which was during the T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai, it were Pakistan who emerged as winners. Babar Azam and Co had defeated India by 10 wickets in Dubai.