Mohammed Shami has replaced Jasprit Bumrah in the Indian T20 World Cup squad. According to a BCCI release, Shami has landed in Australia and will join the squad in Brisbane ahead of India’s two official warm-ups against the hosts and New Zealand on October 17 and 19 respectively.
As previously reported by ESPNcricinfo, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj, who were named Player of the Series earlier this week in India’s 2-1 win over South Africa in the 50-over format, have been named as backups. The pair will travel to Australia soon, the BCCI said.
When Bumrah was banned from the World Cup on October 3, he was sidelined for about six weeks due to a stress-related back injury. Shami was the frontrunner to replace him, especially after head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma suggested they prefer someone with past experience to have played in Australia. Shami was part of multiple trips to Australia and was involved in two Test series wins and an ODI World Cup in 2015, where he was the second highest wicket-taker for India.
In Australia, Shami will take part in a seam bowling bout consisting of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel, with Hardik Pandya as the all-round option.
Shami has not played any form of cricket for the past three months. He was named in India’s T20I squad for the home series against Australia and South Africa in September, but had to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19. Shami then resumed training after returning a negative test on Sept. 28 and is believed to have approved the BCCI-mandated cardiovascular testing last week.
Shami has not played against T20Is for almost a year and was last seen in the format during the 2021 World Cup in the UAE. He took six wickets from five matches against an economy of 8.84 in the tournament.
Since then, however, he has racked up a rich return in the IPL for debutants Gujarat Titans, who also became champions. Shami finished as the highest wicket taker for Titans, taking 20 wickets but more importantly in all 16 games. His powerplay numbers were particularly impressive. His 11 wickets in this stage were the joint highest with Mukesh Choudhary (one of two net bowlers in Australia along with Chetan Sakariya), while his economy of 6.62 was fifth best of the 14 bowlers who delivered 20 or more overs in the match. At death, however, his economy was 9.63.
None of the other reserve players originally named – Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar – are currently traveling. Chahar was touted as Shami’s closest competitor for the vacancy created by Bumrah’s back injury. However, Chahar is currently with the National Cricket Academy following new concerns about his back. He was subsequently withdrawn from the South Africa series.
Teams that qualified directly for the World Cup can make changes to their rosters until October 15 without approval from the event’s technical committee.
India squad for World Cup T20: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice Capt), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (Wk), Dinesh Karthik (Wk), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami