With Mohammed Shami ruled out of India’s three-match T20I series against Australia with COVID-19, 34-year-old Umesh Yadav got a surprise call-up to the squad as the replacement player. Umesh Yadav has played just seven T20Is, with his last appearance for India in the shortest format coming in 2019. With several young options in the wings, and the likes of Mohammed Siraj fit and available, Umesh’s selection raised some eyebrows. But India captain Rohit Sharma backed the experienced pacer to come good and cited his performance in IPL 2022. He also revealed why Siraj was not called up to the squad.
“There were few options, but few of them are injured like Prasidh (Krishna),” Rohit said in a press conference in Mohali, where the first T20I will be played on Tuesday.
“Siraj is playing county, we do not want him to fly all the way, maybe play one or two games. That won’t be fair,” Rohit went on to explain.
Saying it was “unfortunate” that Shami contracted Covid right before the series, the India skipper also revealed that Avesh Khan is still recovering after falling sick during the Asia Cup earlier this month.
“Avesh was quite sick in the Asia Cup and he needs some time to recover. From fitness point of view, he needed some time and rebuild his fitness. All those things were considered,” he said.
Rohit allayed worries about Umesh Yadav not having played a lot of T20 cricket for India.
“Guys like Umesh, Shami, who have been bowling for a long time, they do not need to be playing a format to be considered,” he said.
“They have proven themselves as players in whichever format they have played. We understand the quality, it is the new guys on whom it will depend whether they have played this format or not. But guys like Umesh and Shami, if they are fit and fine, they will be called back,” Rohit said. “We don’t need to look at their form, we saw how Umesh bowled in the IPL.”
“He (Umesh) bowled really well, he swings the ball, bowls fast. That was the thought, pretty simple actually. It was not much of a discussion for us. Keeping in mind World Cup is around the corner, we have tried a lot of players. We are very much clear in our thought process and how we want to move forward,” Rohit concluded.
Mohammed Shami is among the standby players for India in the T20 World Cup, with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh the pacers in their main squad.
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