Mohammed Shami who replaced Jasprit Bumrah in the Indian squad is a big player and his expertise would be crucial in India's opening game against Pakistan according to former Australia player Tom Moody.
Shami could not take part in the T20 series against Australia due to the Covid-19 infection. Following the series, he also had to sit out of the series against South Africa. Shami was earlier named in the standby list of Team India.
The veteran pacer bowled the final over in India's warm-up match against Australia at the Gabba on October 17. He guided India to a six-run win with 3 for 4.
"He (Shami) may be short with some volume in his bowling, but that one over he bowled against Australia would have gone a long way with regards to not so much the physical side of things, but definitely the mental side of things,” Moody said.
In the 17 T20Is that Shami played, he picked 18 wickets. He has an economy rate of 9.54.
"I’d be going with Shami. I’d just go with his experience. Obviously, Bhuvi and Arshdeep are the first two. I just think that in big tournaments, you back big players. And he’s a big player with a lot of experience."
But it will be a different venue and the conditions will also vary at the MCG. Moody advised the Indian batters to be watchful, not conservative.
"I think it’s an intriguing contest, because to me, India are a batting strong side while Pakistan, I think, are a bowling strong side.
"So, for me it’s a real contest as to how well India bat against a very strong new ball attack. If they get through that, I see India controlling the game," Moody, who coached Sri Lanka to the ODI World Cup final in 2007, said.
"But that's where they need to manage -- in the first six overs. Now, we know its T20, we know its Power Play, we also know that if we want to get off to a flyer, we have to manage that carefully. So, I’m not saying you need to be conservative, you need to be watchful."
The veteran coach also said both teams would have to be tactfully aware of playing at the MCG.
"Another thing to take into consideration is the big boundaries. Yes, there will be big boundaries at the MCG, we know that.
"It’s a big venue, so the short ball and the use of that length, hard length, with that change of pace into that length, is the key to bowling at the MCG.
(Inputs from PTI)