After registering a thrilling 2-1 series win over Australia in a three-match T20I series, India is ready to host South Africa ahead of their travel to Australia for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in a three-match T20I series. The Proteas have already reached Thiruvananthapuram for their second tour of India in less than four months for the T20I series. They traveled to India in June this year to take part in a five-match T20I series, which ended in a 2-2 draw after the series decider was washed out due to rain.
The Indian selectors have already announced the squad for the South Africa series, and except for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya, all the cricketers who participated in the Australia series last week will feature against South Africa as well. But there are still doubts over the availability of Mohammed Shami.
The senior fast bowler was scheduled to play his first T20I since the end of the 2021 T20 World Cup against Australia last week, but a positive COVID-19 test just before the start of the home series ruled him out of the entire assignment.
In his place, Umesh Yadav was included in the Indian squad and he got the chance to play in the first match as well, but he failed to impress and then had to warm the bench in the last two matches, both of which India won despite an ordinary bowling display. Shami tested COVID-positive more than a week ago, but since then, an update on his witness is awaiting and his availability for the India vs South Africa T20 series is also not known.
According to a report in InsideSport, since there’s suspense over Shami’s participation, the BCCI has asked tear-away young fast bowler Umran Malik to be on standby. The Jammu-based pacer made his T20I debut for India against Ireland in June earlier this year and was one of the top performers in IPL 2022.
Confirming the same, the BCCI official said, “I am not exactly aware of the current situation regarding Shami and his fitness. The medical team will have the details about it.”
Shami is one of the four cricketers that will travel to Australia with the Indian team as a reserve. He hasn’t played a T20I game for India for almost a year now, and if he gets fit on time and is available for the South Africa series, then there are chances that he will feature in the playing XI as well.