India’s fast bowler Shami quits Australia’s T20s due to COVID-19

India’s fast bowler Shami quits Australia’s T20s due to COVID-19
India’s fast bowler Shami quits Australia’s T20s due to COVID-19

MUMBAI, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been ruled out of three Twenty20 internationals at home to Australia, the country’s cricket board (BCCI) said on Sunday.

After the three-match series, which kicks off in Mohali on Tuesday, India will play three more games at home against South Africa as they continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup in Australia in less than a month.

Shami, who hasn’t been in India’s Asian Cup squad recently, last played in the shortest format for the national team in November during their previous T20 World Cup campaign at the United Arab Emirates.

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“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Umesh Yadav as his replacement,” BCCI said in a statement.

Fast bowler Yadav, 34, has been part of seven T20 internationals for India, the last of them in February 2019.

“Those two series (against Australia and South Africa) are going to be quite tough, the best teams in the world. It will be a good challenge for us,” India captain Rohit Sharma told reporters.

“We’ve tried a lot of players and we’ve seen what each of those players brings to the table. We are very clear about our thought process and how we want to move forward.”

India, which started its World Cup campaign with a blockbuster on October 23 against arch-rivals Pakistan in Melbourne, received a timely boost as batting talisman Virat Kohli returned to form during the Cup from Asia.

Kohli, batting in third place, opened the batting for India in the T20 Asian Cup match against Afghanistan and recorded his first international cent in nearly three years.

Scores of 35, 59 not out and 60 in three other Asian Cup matches also signaled Kohli regaining his touch after many dismal performances.

Rohit said Kohli would be an option at the top of the order, but clarified that KL Rahul remained the first choice as an opening partner.

“It’s always nice to have options available, it’s very important when you go to a tournament like the World Cup. You want that flexibility,” Rohit said. “It’s an option for us, since we didn’t take a third opener, obviously he can open.

“I don’t think we’re going to experiment a lot for this position. KL Rahul will play the World Cup and will be our first match.”

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; edited by Christian Schmollinger and Christian Radnedge

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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