IND vs AUS: Why Was Umesh Yadav Picked Ahead Of A Fit Mohammed Siraj As Mohammed Shami’s Replacement? Rohit Sharma Answers

With Mohammed Shami banned from India’s three-match T20I series against Australia with COVID-19, 34-year-old Umesh Yadav was given a surprise call-up to the squad as the substitute. Umesh Yadav has played just seven T20Is, with his last appearance for India in shortest form in 2019. With several young options in the wings and Mohammed Siraj fit and available, Umesh’s selection raised some eyebrows. But Indian captain Rohit Sharma backed the veteran pacer to recover, citing his performance in IPL 2022. He also revealed why Siraj was not called up to the squad.

“There were few options, but few of them are injured like Prasidh (Krishna),” Rohit said at a press conference in Mohali, where the first T20I will be played on Tuesday.

“Siraj is playing county, we don’t want him to fly all the way, maybe play one or two games. That won’t be fair,” Rohit explained.

The Indian skipper said it was “unfortunate” that Shami contracted Covid just before the series, and also revealed that Avesh Khan is still recovering after falling ill during the Asian Cup earlier this month.

“Avesh was pretty sick in the Asian Cup and he needs some time to recover. From a fitness point of view, he needed some time to get back in shape. All those things were taken into account,” he said.

Rohit allayed concerns that Umesh Yadav hadn’t played much T20 cricket for India.

“Guys like Umesh and Shami, who have been bowling for a long time, don’t have to play a format to qualify,” he said.

“They have proven themselves as players in whatever format they’ve played in. We understand the quality, it’s the new guys it will depend on whether they’ve played this format or not. But guys like Umesh and Shami, if they’re fit and fine, they will be called back,” said Rohit. “We don’t have to look at their form, we saw how Umesh bowled in the IPL.”

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“He (Umesh) bowled really well, he swings the ball, bowls fast. That was the thinking, quite simple actually. It wasn’t really a discussion for us. Keeping in mind that the World Cup is just around the corner, we have a lot of players. We are very clear in our thinking process and how we want to move forward,” Rohit concludes.

Mohammed Shami is one of the standby players for India in the T20 World Cup, with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh the pacesetters on their main squad.

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