Mohammed Shami ruled out of T20 Series against Australia due to Covid-19, Umesh Yadav takes his place!!

Umesh Yadav landed in Chandigarh airport at 7 am on Sunday without much fuss and headed straight to the hotel where the rest of the Indian squad has put up after almost getting an SOS call from the selectors and Indian team management. Umesh was drafted into the Indian T20I side in dramatic fashion after Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the T20 series against Australia due to Covid-19. Shami himself was slated to play his first T20I since the World Cup in Dubai last year.

The urgency with which Umesh was brought to Chandigarh makes him almost a certain starter in the series opener here at Mohali On Tuesday. If Umesh does feature in India’s XI in the first T20I, it will be his first tryst with the white ball in the India blue in 43 months. His last T20I was also against Australia in February, 2019 in Visakhapatnam and his last ODI was further back in 2018 at the same venue against West Indies.

That, however, doesn’t mean that Umesh has been out of touch in limited-overs cricket. In fact, it’s the opposite. Against all expectations, he had a terrific IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders this year and was one of the most lethal pacers in the powerplay picking up 16 wickets at an economy rate of 7. This was primarily the reason behind his sudden return to the T20I set-up barely a month ahead of the World Cup in Australia.

India’s World Cup squad is already announced and both Shami and Umesh don’t feature in it – the former is part of the three stand by cricketers – but if Umesh has a good outing against Australia and Shami does his thing in the next series against South Africa then it shouldn’t be a surprise if these two veterans pip the youngsters in joining the World Cup squad if the need arises.