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23 May 2024

India gamble on paceman Shami for World T20

Mohammed Shami, left, celebrates after dismissing Bangladesh's Soumya Sarkar during their Cricket World Cup quarterfinal match in Melbourne, Australia. (AP)

By Reuters

India have gambled on the fitness of Mohammed Shami by including the injury-prone paceman in the 15-man squad named on Friday for next month's World Twenty20 tournament on home soil.

The 25-year-old Shami has not played international cricket since finishing as India's second most successful bowler at last year's 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with 17 wickets.

Shami underwent surgery on his injured knee after returning from that tournament last March and was named in the squad for the limited-overs series in Australia earlier this year, only to be ruled out with a hamstring problem.

India, who recently completed a 3-0 Twenty20 series sweep in Australia, will use the same squad for the T20 format Asia Cup against other countries from the region later this month.

"We have 30 days before we start the T20 World Cup," chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil told reporters. "We have good time before taking a call on Shami.

"He's been one of our best bowlers. He has recovered, he has started bowling. That's all I can say at the moment."

While batsman Yuvraj Singh and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh were picked for their experience, uncapped 23-year-old Pawan Negi was also included for his up-tempo left-arm spin bowling and power hitting capabilities lower down the order.

India have been pooled alongside Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and a yet-to-be-decided qualifier in Group 2 of the Super 10 stage of the March 8-April 3 tournament.

They open their campaign against New Zealand in Nagpur on March 15.

Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya