Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly feels that fast bowler Mohammed Shami should be picked in the India squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy without even thinking twice, provided the injury-prone bowler remains fit.
The Bengal ace has not played for India since injuring his knee during the third Test against England in Mohali in November. He was a part of the squad for the final Test against Australia in March but did not play the match. On the other hand, his last One-Day International appearance came in the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup but Ganguly feels that the 26-year old should be an automatic choice for the Champions Trophy that begins from June 1 in England.
Ganguly backed his statement by mentioning Shami’s Man-of-the-Match performance against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday (May 2) where he castled their in-form skipper David Warner with a deadly yorker before accounting for Kane Williamson with a brilliant short ball as Delhi Daredevils registered a much-needed win.
“Shami fared quite well in yesterday’s match. The ball to get rid of (David) Warner was a very good one.
“If he is fit, he is well and truly an automatic choice in the Indian team No second thoughts on that,” Ganguly said on the sidelines of the Kolkata Knight Riders-Rising Pune Supergiant game at the Eden Gardens.
Meanwhile, the BCCI is yet to announce the squad for the tournament due to their ongoing tussle with the ICC over the newly-implemented revenue model but if they name the squad in the coming days, Ganguly said Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir would be a good choice.
With KL Rahul injured, India will have to look out for a new opener to partner Rohit Sharma at the top and the in-form Gambhir can be a good choice according to Ganguly.
“Gambhir is in good form, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep him in the fray. Besides, Lokesh Rahul too is not available at the moment,” he said.
He further spoke of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s disappointing campaign this term. The runners-up of last year are all but out of the race for a playoff berth after managing just 5 points from 11 games. Ganguly said that injuries to their main players at the start of the tournament did not allow them to gain momentum before adding that big names do not always ensure success.
“They lost momentum at the start itself and it’s really difficult to recover, considering the format of the game. You just don’t get enough time.
“Also, some of their main players (Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers) weren’t available during the initial stages, which let them down. Moreover, having big names in the squad doesn’t always mean that you will do well all the time,” he added.