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Mohammed Shami has replaced Jasprit Bumrah in India's T20 World Cup squad. According to a BCCI release, Shami has touched down in Australia and will link up with the squad in Brisbane ahead of India's two official warm-ups against the hosts and New Zealand on October 17 and 19 respectively.
When Bumrah was ruled out of the World Cup on October 3, he was facing about six weeks on the sidelines because of a stress-related back injury. Shami was the frontrunner to replace him, especially after head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma hinted at preferring someone with past experience of having played in Australia. Shami has been part of multiple tours to Australia, and was involved in two Test-series wins as well as an ODI World Cup in 2015 where he was the second-highest wicket-taker for India.
In Australia, Shami will join a seam-bowling attack comprising Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel, with Hardik Pandya as the all-round option.
Shami hasn't played any form of cricket in the last three months. He was named in India's T20I squad for the home series against Australia and South Africa in September but had to pull out after testing positive for Covid-19. Shami subsequently resumed training after returning a negative test on September 28 and is believed to have cleared the BCCI-mandated cardiovascular tests last week.
Shami hasn't played T20Is for close to a year now, having last featured in the format during the 2021 World Cup in the UAE. He picked up six wickets from five games at an economy of 8.84 in the tournament.
Since then, however, he has had rich returns in the IPL for debutants Gujarat Titans who also went on to become champions. Shami finished as the highest wicket-taker for Titans, picking up 20 wickets, but more importantly featured in all 16 games. His powerplay numbers were particularly impressive. His 11 wickets in this phase were the joint-highest with Mukesh Choudhary (one of two net bowlers in Australia along with Chetan Sakariya), while his economy of 6.62 was the fifth-best among the 14 bowlers who delivered 20 or more overs in the competition. However, at the death, his economy was 9.63.
None of the other reserve players originally named - Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar - are travelling at the moment. Chahar was touted to be Shami's closest competitor for the vacancy left by Bumrah's back injury. However, Chahar is currently at the National Cricket Academy after fresh concerns over his back. He was subsequently withdrawn from the South Africa series.
Teams that qualified directly for the World Cup can make changes to the squads without requiring permission from the event's technical committee until October 15.
India squad for T20 World Cup: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-capt), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami
Reserve players: Mohammed Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Shardul Thakur.