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India pick veterans, recall Shami for World T20

India pick veterans, recall Shami for World T20

NEW DELHI: Hosts India on Friday recalled strike bowler Mohammed Shami and named veteran former champions Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in their squad for the World Twenty20 starting next month.

Shami has not played for India since last year’s 50-over World Cup after suffering a knee injury and was sent home early from India’s recent tour of Australia with hamstring problems.

But chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said the 25-year-old had recovered and would be given time to prove his fitness, leaving open the possibility of calling up a late replacement before the final selection deadline.

“We have 30 days to ascertain where Shami is,” Patil told reporters in New Delhi. “He has recovered, he has resumed bowling. That’s what we know right now.”

Shami had been emerging as India’s premier fast bowler before his injury woes, shining in all three formats of the game.

Given India’s struggles to identify a successor to the recently retired spearhead Zaheer Khan, Shami’s fitness could be key to the host’s chances of winning the tournament for the second time.

Shami’s inclusion was the most eye-catching in a 15-man squad packed with experience and led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who captained India to victory in the 2007 inaugural tournament in South Africa.

There had been questions about Dhoni’s future after a disappointing run of scores but critics were silenced when he led India to a 3-0 victory in the recent T20 series against Australia.

Patil refused to be drawn on Dhoni’s long-term future but underlined the Indian board (BCCI) retained complete faith in the 34-year-old, who will also captain the same squad in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

“I have repeatedly said that selectors or BCCI, I don’t think we have any right to tell any player when he should retire,” Patil said. “We have a right to pick a player on his performance and fitness. What the player thinks about his future is entirely his decision.

“We have total faith in MSD’s captaincy and that is why the selection committee felt that he is the right person to lead India in the Asia cup and till the T20 world cup. What happens after that we will wait and see.”

Harbhajan, 35, and Yuvraj, 34, are two other veterans of India’s triumph in 2007, the only time the team has won the trophy.

Harbhajan failed to make the starting line-up in the Australia tour but Patil said the off-spinner, who has taken more than 700 international wickets, still had something to offer.

The only uncapped player in the squad is the left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who has impressed in the IPL with his bowling and his powerful lower-order hitting.


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

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2016

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