'An opportunity to unearth a new champion' - Shastri on Jasprit Bumrah's T20 World Cup absence
India are set to enter the T20 World Cup in Australia without their all-phase bank with the ball in hand.
Ravi Shastri believes absence of Jasprit Bumrah from the forthcoming T20 World Cup is an "opportunity to unearth a new champion" for India during the course of the month-long event.
The Indian team reached Perth on Friday (October 7) to kick off their final preparations for the marquee event in Australia. Without Bumrah, their perfect cog for all stages of the innings with the ball, very few are giving India a chance to reclaim the T20 World Cup title.
But Shastri, an eternal optimist, thinks from adversity there may rise a new hero and help the side clinch the trophy that has slipped India's grasp for the last 15 years. Not since the tournament's inaugural edition back in South Africa have India re-tasted the T20 World Cup glory.
"[It's] unfortunate," Shastri said for Jasprit Bumrah's back injury during the launch of Coaching Beyond, which is his new initiative alongside his former colleagues Bharat Arun and R Sridhar. "There's so much cricket being played, and people get injured. He is injured, but it's an opportunity for somebody else. There is nothing you can do with injury."
Bumrah's injury, "an opportunity" for someone else stand-up: Shastri
While India failed to make it past the Super 12 stage of the last year's T20 World Cup in UAE, Shastri backed Rohit Sharma & company to qualify for the semifinals in Australia. He said "it could be anyone's tournament" after that, stating the high-octane nature of the knock-out games may inspire someone to plug the Jasprit Bumrah hole in that line-up and make a hero out of himself.
"I think we have got enough strength and we have a good team. I have always believed if you make it to the semi-finals, it could be anyone's tournament."
"The endeavour would be to start well, get to the semis, and then you have got enough strength to probably win the [World] Cup, for all you know. Bumrah not being there, Jadeja not being there - it hampers the side - but it's an opportunity to unearth a new champion," he added.
Bumrah was ruled out of the T20 World Cup last week after fresh scans at the NCA in Bangalore revealed it would be too big a risk for the speedster to travel to Australia and play games.
The Indian team are yet to name his replacement, with Rohit and coach Rahul Dravid saying that they will name one once they discuss their course of action in Australia.