India pacer Jasprit Bumrah returned to international cricket with a bang as he earned the Player-of-the-Series award during the recently held T20I tour of Ireland.
Bumrah, who was away from action for almost a year due to a recurring back injury, led India from the front in Ireland, claiming four wickets from two T20Is at an average of 9.75.
The right-arm quick will now look to continue his brilliance in the Asia Cup 2023, which got underway on August 30 in Multan.
India will open their Asia Cup campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Pallekele on September 2. This will be Bumrah's first ODI match in almost 14 months.
Ahead of the marquee clash, India pacer Mohammad Shami has said that Bumrah’s return has made the team very strong.
"For a long time we didn't have Jassi (Bumrah), so we felt the loss of a good player like him. You sometimes feel like 'I wish this player was there', to make your combination set.
"So having Jassi, especially in the white-ball format, has made our bowling very strong. He's looking fit and he's playing well, hopefully, we have a good Asia Cup," Shami said while speaking to Star Sports.
In the ODI series against Australia in March this year, Shami shared the new ball with Mohammed Siraj in Bumrah's absence.
Shami said he has no ego and would only follow the team's instructions if asked to bowl in the Asia Cup with a used Kookaburra rather than the new ball.
"I don't have any hesitancy to bowl with the new ball or the old ball. I don't have an ego like that. All three of us (Bumrah, Shami & Siraj) are bowling very well, so it depends on the management on who will play," Shami stated.
"Depends on whether I have the new ball or whether the team requires me at any stage during the match, I'm always on," he added.
Shami said he has been benefited greatly from the training in Alur before travelling to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup.
"For big games, there is always preparation as we have practised in the training camp. I don't think we have to analyze too much into the situation, we have the skill and the bowling line-up, so we don't have to think too much.
"But I have to say one thing, whenever One-day matches come, there has to be focus. So to be focused and to have proper planning."
India’s last group match in the Asia Cup is scheduled for September 4 against Nepal at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
(With PTI Inputs)