Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the forthcoming India-Australia Twenty20 International series. Cricbuzz learns that the veteran pacer has tested positive for Covid and has not reached Mohali, the venue of the first of the three T20Is against the Aussies. The match is on September 20.
The information reached the concerned officials in the BCCI and the team management on Saturday (September 17), when the team reached Mohali. The Australian team is also believed to have reached the city.
As reported by Cricbuzz earlier, Umesh has been confirmed as the replacement for Shami. Umesh recently returned from an incomplete county stint with Middlesex, unable to join them back owing to a quad muscle injury. The county said in a statement on September 17 that Umesh, who had traveled to India for an assessment with BCCI’s medical team, had “not recovered sufficiently to handle the workload required in a four-day game” and hence will play no further part in the ongoing County Championship.
The home Australia series ends on September 25 in Hyderabad after the second game in Nagpur on September 23.
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Whether Shami will be taking part in the subsequent three-match T20I series against South Africa is also dependent on his recovery from Covid infection. The three T20I matches against South Africa are on September 28, October 2 and October 4 in Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati and Indore respectively.
It is an unexpected setback for Shami, who had been picked for a T20I after almost a year; he last played the format for India at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. A good showing in the twin series against Australia and South Africa would have presented him with an opportunity to make it to the World Cup squad in case of an injury to the four pacers – Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel – selected ahead of him. Two of those are in the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and as reported by Cricbuzz earlier in the evening, Shami is to fly to Australia along with the regular squad for the World Cup.
For Umesh (34), it is a welcome break into the white-ball team. The veteran pacer from Nagpur last played an ODI in October 2018 and a T20I in February 2019.
South Africa are also scheduled to play three ODIs against India on October 6, 9 and 11 in Lucknow, Ranchi and Delhi. However, any players in the T20I squad will not be taking part in the ODIs. A squad under Shikhar Dhawan will take on the South Africans.
India Squad for Australia T20Is: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.