IPL 2021: Mohammed Shami is ‘fine’ and ‘good to go’, says Kumble

Punjab Kings coach Anil Kumble confirms that speedster Shami has recovered from the wrist injury. He should be ready for the first game after a few practice matches.

Published : Mar 26, 2021 12:20 IST , KOLKATA

Mohammed Shami bowls during an IPL contest in October, 2020. - SPORTZPICS/IPL
Mohammed Shami bowls during an IPL contest in October, 2020. - SPORTZPICS/IPL

Mohammed Shami bowls during an IPL contest in October, 2020. - SPORTZPICS/IPL

India and Punjab Kings fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who has been out of action due to a wrist injury sustained in the tour of Australia in December, is expected to bowl in full tilt in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League starting April 9.

Shami had started low-intensity training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru in February. Punjab Kings head coach Anil Kumble confirmed that the pacer is fine and is expected to play the first game.

“He is fine as far as I know. He is coming to the bio-bubble for the quarantine and he will be out in a few days. I know he hasn’t played any matches since his injury but he is good to go. We are really looking forward to him playing a few practice games and then getting ready for the first game,” Kumble told Sportstar on Friday.

Punjab Kings IPL 2021 fixtures

Pace is likely to play a major role for Punjab Kings in the upcoming season with exciting fast bowlers such as Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. Both the Australians were bought for ₹14 crore and ₹8 crore respectively. There is also death overs specialist Chris Jordan alongside Indian youngsters Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel and Darshan Nalkande. All-rounder Moises Henriques, bought for ₹4.2 crore, is a handy seam bowling option too.

Due to the sultry conditions in India, the Punjab Kings management may rotate the fast bowlers to manage their workload better.

“I think in the smaller auctions, people tend to forget that the options are minimal. Every team wants to reinforce and fill the gaps and since the options are lesser, you tend to spend a lot more on the players. We wanted to have a squad which gives us options in case we want to rotate a few of our fast bowlers. Even our young Indian pacers are exciting. It is a fairly long tournament and the conditions will be pretty hot,” reasoned Kumble.

Rahul the first-choice wicketkeeper

Punjab Kings head coach, Anil Kumble. - RAJEEV BHATT

The head coach added that skipper K. L. Rahul will be the first-choice wicketkeeper, ahead of Nicholas Pooran and Prabhsimran Singh. “K. L. will be starting as a wicketkeeper and then, we will take a call. He did a great job last year and he will continue this year as well.”

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Among the areas to fine-tune, Kumble pointed out that his side needs to start better and not take the matches to Super Overs. Punjab lost quite a few close games in 2020 despite winning five in a row in the middle of the tournament.

“We should have closed out a few games. We were in a winning position. Even in the five consecutive wins last year, we took it right till the end. The other area, of course, where we can do better is our death bowling. And with the options we have, I am hopeful we will be able to fill the gap.”

Punjab Kings will start its IPL campaign against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on April 12.

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