India vs New Zealand ODI series: “Siraj is really crucial, not only for the World Cup, but beyond,” adds bowling coach Paras Mhambrey.

On the eve of the second ODI against New Zealand, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey lauded Mohammed Siraj, emphasising his significance beyond the 50-over World Cup later this year.

“He is a vital element of the team, and we have high expectations for him. “Not only for the World Cup, but also beyond it for India,” Mhambrey said during Friday’s pre-match press conference at Raipur’s Shaheed Veer Narain Singh Stadium.

On Wednesday, in his debut game for India at his home stadium in Hyderabad, Siraj excelled with 4/46 as India survived a New Zealand scare. It brought Siraj’s ODI total to 37 scalps in 20 innings, with an average of 21.

“Extremely pleased with his performance. I’ve known him when he was a member of the India A squad. And he performed admirably with the red ball. It is uplifting and encouraging to see that he has transferred his skill and knowledge to white-ball cricket.”

When asked where the Hyderabad bowler has improved, Mhambrey said, “Siraj has been known as a bowler who likes to get the ball in, perhaps among the technical crowd. However, he has worked very hard on his wobbly seam position and his action to actually get the ball moving. This has made a tremendous difference and offered another option to his bowling.”

Among Umran and Shardul.

Mhambrey described the development of India’s pace sensation Umran Malik as ‘encouraging.’

Rarely do you encounter someone who consistently bowls at 150 kilometres per hour or faster. Pace does matter. In addition, I believe this adds a new dimension to the bowling attack.”

While the 50-year-old stated that Malik was “very much in the plan” for the World Cup, he agreed that selecting Shardul Thakur as a bowling all-rounder alongside two frontline pacers was a decent pattern. “Shardul provides a great deal of depth to our batting,” Mhambrey added.

Malik, who participated in two of Sri Lanka’s three ODIs earlier this month, did not play in Hyderabad. Thakur, who returned to the India squad after a stint with the Mumbai Ranji Trophy side, took a few wickets in the opening match, including the crucial one of Michael Bracewell, who scored a hundred.

Bumrah cannot be replaced

Jasprit Bumrah, India’s speed spearhead, is temporarily unavailable, and the attack looks different without him.

“A bowler such as Bumrah is singular and irreplaceable. Accept the truth that the qualities he brings to the squad and the results he has delivered will be difficult to reproduce,” Mhambrey said.

“However, it also affords the other players the chance to be tried in international cricket. We evaluate players based on their contributions to the team, how they’ve handled pressure, and how they’ve performed at various phases of the game.”

Regarding the reshuffling of lineups in bilateral series, the India bowling coach implied that it was only a matter of time before the World Cup contenders were established.

“We are not interested in conducting any experiments. We won’t be making too many adjustments,” Mhambrey remarked. “However, another series exists” (vs Australia). We must examine the other players in the formation. Then comes the IPL, followed by possibly another series before the World Cup. By the time the next series concludes, there will be greater clarity regarding the 15 participants.”

The 11:30 a.m. start time for World Cup games is a really good point.

Mhambrey weighed in on Ravichandran Ashwin’s proposal to start World Cup games as early as 11:30 a.m. to eliminate the dew effect, in addition to the standard team composition procedures.

“Ashwin had brought up a fairly solid issue. “Dew does play a significant role at certain venues,” he remarked.

“That depends on the time of year and the location of the game. Occasionally, you realise that when the ball is old, it tilts heavily towards the batting side due to the absence of spin. The ball approaches the bat. It makes batting really simple. This is something we can investigate. It is not my decision to make. This is the responsibility of the ICC or the board, with other members attached. Both teams compete on a fair playing field.”

In the wake of Sri Lanka being bowled out for 73 against India in the third ODI, Ashwin stated on his YouTube channel, “My recommendation – or rather my perspective – for the World Cup is to examine what venues and times we would be playing in. Why shouldn’t we begin World Cup matches at 11.30 a.m.?”

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