Injured Irfan Pathan out of tri-series
India allrounder Irfan Pathan has been ruled out of the upcoming tri-series in the West Indies due to a hamstring injury. He has been replaced by the right-arm seamer Shami Ahmed, who has already played five ODIs.
Irfan was part of the Champions Trophy squad but did not get a game. He bowled in the warm-up match against Sri Lanka and finished with expensive figures of 0 for 45 from five overs. Irfan last played for India during the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in 2012 but another hamstring injury cut short his Ranji Trophy season.
Shami, who represents Bengal, made his debut when Pakistan toured India for a limited-overs series in January. Shami's inclusion is the only change to the squad, which otherwise has the same set of players who were picked for the Champions Trophy.
"It is nice to be called back into the squad," Shami told ESPNcricinfo from Kolkata hours before leaving for Jamaica, where India will open their campaign on June 30 against the hosts. "I think I fared pretty well against Pakistan and England (earlier this year) and had received encouraging feedback from my team-mates and coaching staff."
Shami made his international debut in a low-scoring ODI against Pakistan in Delhi in January. He returned with an impressive haul of 1 for 23 off nine overs, becoming the first Indian bowler to bowl four or more maiden overs on debut. The right-arm seamer, who relies more on line and length, then featured in four ODIs against England, taking three wickets.
However, Shami was benched for most of the IPL, playing only three games for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Apart from the disappointment of being left out for the Champions Trophy, what hurt Shami more was the lack of faith shown on him by his franchise, having worked "really hard" and was "bowling very well" going into the IPL.
"No doubt it was upsetting. But then I realised, the more you sulk, the more it hurts, so I stopped thinking about it," Shami said. "Instead I started focusing on keeping myself fit and striving to improve in the nets and the results are there to see."
Shami had a good tour of the West Indies with the A team last year, picking up 13 wickets in three four-day matches. With India sticking to their winning combination throughout their victorious campaign in England, Shami realises that he may not get an opportunity in the tri-series unless the team management decides to rest one of the three main seamers.
"All that would be in my hands is to be prepared, if and when I am asked to contribute and I am ready for that," Shami said. "Last year's tour to the West Indies was a memorable one for me. Let's hope this year turns out to be no different."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo