What’s the story?
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the fourth and final Test match as he has not yet recovered from his injury and is still undergoing treatment under physio Patrick Farhart.
“Shami was with the team in Ranchi also as Farhart is monitoring his progress. He was not named in the squad of 15 for the final Test. Sending him to play Vijay Hazare final was a part of that extensive rehabilitation plan,” a well-informed source was as quoted by PTI.
The Indian team is grappling with a number of injuries at the end of a long and arduous home season. The fitness of captain, Virat Kohli is still under the scanner as he did not take part in the net session. Along with Kohli, even Shami has not been deemed fit enough to make it to the playing XI on Saturday.
The rumours around the inclusion of the fast bowler gained momentum ever since he was roped into the squad. Even Virat Kohli exuded confidence about the progress of Shami during the post-match presser in Ranchi.
However, despite the best of efforts, Shami could not gain match fitness and thus will have to watch the proceedings from the sidelines in Dharamsala.
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Shami has not played any cricket even since he injured his knee against England in November, 2016. He has however made some progress as he announced on Twitter that he is on the right track as far as his comeback is concerned.
Good session today. Feel comfortable pic.twitter.com/2qiOjBS86c— Mohammed Shami (@MdShami11) February 23, 2017
The Indian team was keen to squeeze in Shami ever since the curator has predicted that the pitch would offer assistance to the seamers which could make the combination of Shami-Ishant-Umesh a potent one for the hosts.
With the exclusion of Shami, the Indian team could now draft in Bhuvneshwar Kumar if the pitch looks to assist the seamers and could go in with 5 specialist bowlers.
However, if the grass is shaved off before the match, they could well go in with the same combination which took the field for the 3rd Test.
Also, with the injury to Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer has been called up as a cover which could further dent the balance of the team.
Shami has been prone to injuries and it is best if he recovers completely before he resumes playing. With the Champions Trophy coming up in England, Shami could well be a match-winner if he is fit and firing.
Hence, this is a good call made by the selectors to not include him when he is not entirely convinced of his own body.