After all the drama and uninvited chaos finally, BCCI declared the 15-man squad for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami have made their comeback to the Indian ODI side after being ruled out due to injury for long.
Shami has not played an ODI since the 2015 World Cup semi-final, and now slots in as the fifth pace-bowling option behind Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and all-rounder Hardik Pandya. It can be argued that two wickets in five IPL games are no great shakes, but Shami has had the selectors’ faith ever since he returned to international cricket last July after a long gap.
Not only a knee injury after 2015 World Cup semifinal loss but also the demise of his father added more woes to India’s speedster. Not to forget in 2015 World Cup, he was India’s leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps on his cards.
“Two years is a long time for any player. After recovering from injury, I have focused on increasing strength and improving fitness. I have lost weight too. I have tried to iron out flaws. Hopefully, I will be able to give my 100% in Champions Trophy. My aim would be to start from where I left,” Shami said post the Indian team for ICC Champions Trophy was announced.
He returned to international cricket in July 2016 and played Tests against West Indies, New Zealand and England. However, he was rested for the New Zealand ODI series before he sustained an injury and missed out the England ODIs and the Australia Tests that followed after it.
Though, he played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and also a few matches for his IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils.
“This is a very good opportunity for me to get back to match fitness. These eight to 10 matches that I am playing in IPL, before going to England, will help me get into the groove,” Shami said.
Though, he failed to achieve many wickets in IPL 10 and also missed out on few of the matches, the pacer said that words of Zaheer khan and getting to play with him in the same team has helped and motivated him a lot.
“During the rehabilitation period, I spoke to ex-players whenever I got the opportunity. I am lucky to have Zaheer bhai in the Daredevils set-up. He is experienced and working with him in the nets always throws up something positive. I get to learn a lot,” he said.
With India having pacers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav, who have been consistent this year in taking wickets both in IPL and international games, Shami is positive about India’s bowling performance in England.
“We have one of the best pace line-ups in the world. We need to help each other and guide each other. We have the team to defend the Champions Trophy title,” Shami said.The eight-team tournament would kickstart on June 1 just after IPL ends and India team led by Kohli will play their first match against all time rivals Pakistan on 4th June.