Mohammad Shami.
Mohammed Shami. Image Credit: X

Since the end of last year’s ODI World Cup 2023, India’s premier fast bowler Mohammed Shami has been out of action due to injury. But in positive news, the pacer has started his bowling at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Even though, it’s still tough to predict the date of his return.

Shami missed so much cricket including the team’s South Africa tour consisting of two Tests and three T20Is, the five-match home Test series against England, the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL), and the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, in the West Indies, and the United States of America.

The seamer had a successful surgery on his right Achilles tendon in February and is under the treatment of doctor Nitin Patel, who is the Head of Sports Science and Medicine at NCA, along with the strength and conditioning coach, Rajinikanth at the NCA.

India seeks Mohammed Shami back for Australia Test tour

Mohammed Shami Shami has just taken a short break, before returning back to Bengaluru soon to resume his rehabilitation, Badruddin, the childhood coach of the pacer, is pleased with the progress of Shami, and feels that it will take a little more time before he makes a comeback for the Indian team.

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‘Shami has started bowling. Not with full run-up or full tilt but has started releasing the ball without any discomfort in the nets.’ The childhood coach of the pacer, Badruddin expressed. ‘This is a good sign because bowling activity has begun.’

When Mohammed Shami Shami featured in the last ODI World Cup, he was in tremendous touch, by finishing the tournament as the highest wicket-taker. The fast-bowler ended up with 24 wickets in seven innings, at an average of 10.70, and an economy of 5.26, including three five-wicket hauls, and a best of 7/57 against New Zealand in the semifinal.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has released the calendar for their home series. India will face Bangladesh in a two-match Test series and three T20Is in September-October, before featuring in a three-match Test series.

India will also have three tours, at the end of the ongoing 20-over World Cup, where they will face Zimbabwe for a five-match T20I series, before touring Sri Lanka for three ODIs and three T20Is and making a trip to South Africa for a three-match T20I series.

The BCCI secretary Jay Shah, in March, declared that they are looking at the Bangladesh series for the comeback of the pacer, but until Mohammed Shami Shami starts bowling in full rhythm, the date couldn’t be finalized.

‘No doubt he will be back in India colors very soon. You would have seen the progress he has been making via the social media videos and the post.’ A very close source to the player expressed to News18. ‘He is working very hard but more clarity will come when bowling resumes at full tilt and how the body reacts after that.’

The management at the NCA believes in bringing the players back in action through the shortest format, as they did with Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, or Shreyas Iyer, and it’s very likely to happen with Shami too, who hasn’t played the game for around seven months.

The Zimbabwe series won’t be the place for Mohammed Shami Shami, as it will be quite quick for him, as is the case for the Sri Lanka series. The Bangladesh T20I series, or the South Africa series could be the series for Shami’s return.

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‘There is a very important away tour of Australia this year where India plays five Tests. Mohammed Shami is going to be a very crucial player for the side during that assignment and a very cautious approach is going to be followed.’ A close source of the pacer remarked. ‘NCA has used T20I and ODIs for players returning from long injury lay-offs in the past and the route is likely to be followed with Shami too.’

“It is always better to ease a player back into competitive cricket, especially for a fast bowler. Again, that’s a safety-first plan but you never know. If he bowls without discomfort for an extended period in the nets and participates in match simulations without any trouble, Bangladesh Tests could well be the series of his return.’ He concluded.

India will look to have Mohammad Shami ready for their Australia tour, where they will feature in the Border-Gavaskar trophy, consisting of five Tests at the end of the year.