INDIA CALL ON SPEEDY SHAMI
To help bolster bowling attack in Champions Trophy
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.