India fast bowler Mohammed Shami has tested positive for COVID-19 and is likely to miss the T20I series against Australia, beginning on Monday. Umesh Yadav, who had recently suffered an injury while playing for Middlesex and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, might replace Shami. However. there is no confirmation from the BCCI yet.
The Indian team landed in Mohali on Friday ahead of the first T20I, but Shami did not join the side as his reports returned positive before departure.
“The team management was informed that Shami has tested positive for COVID-19. The medical team is in contact with him and we are assessing the situation,” a source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told Sportstar.
There is a buzz that Umesh Yadav, who had recently suffered an injury while playing for Middlesex and is currently undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, might replace Shami, but there is no confirmation from the BCCI yet.
Earlier this week, the national selection committee kept Shami as a standby for the T20 World Cup squad. However, by picking him for the home series against Australia and South Africa, the selectors also gave an indication that they wanted to give Shami enough game time ahead of the ICC event so that he can be drafted into the 15-member squad if the need arises.
But if Shami misses out on the Australia series, he will only have three matches against South Africa to prove his case before flying out for the T20WC.
The home Australia series ends on September 25 in Hyderabad following the second game in Nagpur on September 23. The three-match series against South Africa begins on September 28.
The BCCI has also decided to fly in the reserve players for the T20 World Cup along with the squad so that in case there is any need, they can be drafted into the main squad. “Since the fixtures are back-to-back, it could be difficult in terms of logistics to make last-minute arrangements, so it has been decided to fly in the standbys along with the main squad. They can train and be ready,” a BCCI insider said.
Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar are the standbys for the tournament.