To help bol­ster bowl­ing at­tack in Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIA re­called fast bowler Mo­hammed Shami to the squad that will de­fend the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy ti­tle af­ter sus­pend­ing a bat­tle over shar­ing out world cricket’s rev­enues.

Pace spear­head Shami and bats­man Ro­hit Sharma are the only changes from the team that played Eng­land in three one-day in­ter­na­tion­als this year.

Shami takes the place of legspin­ner Amit Mishra while Sharma re­places Lokesh Rahul, who is re­cu­per­at­ing from shoul­der surgery.

Shami, who last played a one­day in­ter­na­tional in the 2015 World Cup, has re­cov­ered from in­jury and been play­ing with the Delhi Dare­dev­ils in the In­dian Pre­mier League.

“Two years is a long pe­riod ... I have fo­cused on my fit­ness and worked on my weak points. Hop­ing that I start from where I left off,” said the 26-year-old.

Shami bol­sters a po­tent In­dian bowl­ing at­tack fea­tur­ing Bhu­vnesh­war Ku­mar and Umesh Ya­dav, and seamer all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bum­rah.

“It is a bal­anced team, an ex­pe­ri­enced team and I think we have picked the best pos­si­ble side,” chief se­lec­tor MSK Prasad told re­porters.

In­dia’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 50 overs tour­na­ment, to be played in Eng­land and Wales from June 1, had been in doubt af­ter the na­tional board fought the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) over rev­enue-shar­ing.

The pow­er­ful Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia (BCCI) missed the April 25 dead­line to an­nounce a squad and threat­ened a boy­cott over the dis­pute.

A spe­cial BCCI meet­ing on Sun­day voted unan­i­mously to take part in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

The BCCI are fu­ri­ous at the ICC for amend­ing their rules to di­vert power and money away from cricket’s ma­jor pow­ers: In­dia, Eng­land and Aus­tralia.

The BCCI stand to lose US$277 mil­lion (RM1.24 bil­lion) in rev­enue over the next eight years un­der the sweep­ing changes and their use of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy as a bar­gain­ing chip was strongly crit­i­cised.

But the board said they were keep­ing le­gal op­tions open, in­di­cat­ing the row with the ICC was not over.

In­dia’s three se­lec­tors avoided ma­jor sur­prises, of­fer­ing lit­tle joy to young­sters like wick­et­keeper­bats­man Rishabh Pant de­spite his fine IPL show­ing.

Pant, 19, was named among five play­ers kept on standby, along with Suresh Raina, Kuldeep Ya­dav, Shardul Thakur and Di­nesh Karthik.

Prasad said he was “com­pletely im­pressed” by Pant’s per­for­mances for the Delhi Dare­dev­ils.

“He is one player who we are look­ing at for the fu­ture. We will groom him, nur­ture him and back him.”

Pre­mier off-spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win made the squad de­spite miss­ing the IPL due to in­jury.

“Ash­win’s in­jury was not se­ri­ous and we wanted to give him a break. In fact his fran­chise has been mag­nan­i­mous to ac­cept our re­quest of rest­ing him,” said Prasad.

In­dia, who beat Eng­land in the 2013 fi­nal, take on arch-ri­vals Pak­istan in their open­ing game on June 4.

IN­DIA SQUAD: Vi­rat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ro­hit Sharma, Ajinkya Ra­hane, Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni, Yu­vraj Singh, Kedar Jad­hav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichan­dran Ash­win, Ravin­dra Jadeja, Mo­hammed Shami, Umesh Ya­dav, Bhu­vnesh­war Ku­mar, Jasprit Bum­rah, Man­ish Pandey.


Mo­hammed Shami last played a one-day in­ter­na­tional in the 2015 World Cup.

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