File photo of Jasprit Bumrah.© BCCI
All eyes will be on Jasprit Bumrah in the T20 series in Ireland later this month when he will lead the side. It will his comeback series after being out of action for almost a year following his back surgery. Kaif reckons India will struggle without Bumrah in knock out games of in 2023 World Cup, like they did in the T20 World Cup in Australia last year. He also doesn’t agree with a view India have the depth to field two or three teams, at least not in the bowling department.
“The players who are injured, India’s chances in the World Cup will depend a lot on that (their comeback). Bumrah is coming now after a long injury lay off and we will get an idea on how fit he is. India need a fully fit Bumrah to do well in World Cup at home. In the bowling department, you can’t have two teams. If Bumrah doesn’t play we will lose, like we did in Asia Cup T20 and 2022 T20 World Cup. We don’t have his back up.
“At the moment the team is not looking the strongest on paper as it is missing key players including KL Rahul, Pant, Iyer and the biggest factor is Bumrah,” said the 42-year-old.
“I won’t judge the team for what it has done on the West Indies tour. If Rohit Sharma and Kohli had to take a break then they should not have been part of the squad. I will judge them from Asia Cup and the 15 they pick for the tournament. “From Asia Cup onwards, they have to be sure what their 11 is and what their back ups are,” said Kaif.
He will also have Kishan as the reserve wicketkeeper in the World Cup squad.
“He will be in the squad as he has done well. I am not sure if Kishan, SKY, Samson and Iyer, all of them won’t be in the 15. It remains to be seen if Kishan wll be the back-up wicket keeper to Rahul.” Kaif believes India will again qualify for quarter-final.
“World Cup for India will start with the semi-final. They will need to win two big games to lift the title,” he added.
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