Mohammed Shami finds himself in a difficult position as it is unknown that whether the selectors will give him a chance to get to the plane in England for the upcoming 5-match Test series starting August 1.
The India team will be announced in the coming days and one thing fans may be really eager is to see whether Shami features in the plans of the selectors. He missed the Afghanistan Test last month after failing the yo-yo test and could be asked to prove his fitness if named in the squad.
Shami is a genuine match-winner and deserves another chance to feature in the Test side. India have plenty of options in their pace attack, but having Shami will be a bonus for Virat Kohli's side. He is a genuine wicket-taker and his pace and control in Tests is a positive factor.
Earlier this year, the India fast bowler was the leading wicket-taker in South Africa and helped the national team to win a Test match. Though India lost the series 2-1, Shami and the other pacers had impressed in a nation where India have fared poorly over the years.
Shami must have thought that this was a new chapter in his cricket career after picking 15 wickets in three Tests against the Proteas. He had done well against Sri Lanka too at home in November 2017.
The injury-prone fast bowler looked in shape and was in tremendous control. He continuously spelled trouble for the hosts. Shami’s variety of swing, consistency over 140 kph and providing a headache for batsmen in judging his deliveries, was a class act. Shami grew with every match and the others seemed to have rallied around him.
What looked like an exciting phase for the bowler and Indian cricket has now turned into something that both parties would not have liked. After all the promise and buzz, the last few months haven’t gone according to plans for the right-arm fast bowler. He finds himself in a sticky wicket at the moment.
Shami failed the Yo-Yo fitness test held at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. The selectors were thus prompted to summon rookie Delhi speedster Navdeep Saini in his place. The 27-year-old Shami, who has 110 wickets from 30 Tests, is now in a spot of bother as things have gone awry for him since the series against the Proteas.
But given his attributes in Test cricket, where he has been excellent, the selectors should keep him in mind. He can bowl well in England and be of massive help in supporting Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With Jasprit Bumrah battling a broken thumb, Shami could be the answer for India alongside Ishant Sharma and Bhuvi.
The issue for Shami lies in the fact that India have plenty of first team pacers and even if he makes it in the squad for England, he won’t be assured of a start. But at least being recalled will give him the belief of putting his best foot forward.
Post the England series, India will be up against West Indies at home before a long tour of Australia. Shami knows this is the best time to be a part of the Indian side and will look to prove his fitness and take it step by step from there on.