Shami races against time to be fit for South Africa Tests, return during England series more likely

India’s Mohammed Shami during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia. File.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Senior pacer Mohammed Shami, who is recovering from an ankle injury, is racing against time to be fit for the Test series against South Africa, starting at Centurion on December 26.

Though Shami was included in the Test squad that was announced on November 30, the 33-year-old’s availability was subjected to his recovery after the treatment.

In that context, PTI understands that Shami might not board the flight to South Africa along with other members of the Test squad such as captain Rohit Sharma, senior batter Virat Kohli, fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah and others.

They are scheduled to fly out to Johannesburg on Friday.

Shami is likely to continue his recuperation at home, and the pacer could make a return during the Test series at home against England starting from January 25 at Hyderabad.

If a replacement is indeed required for Shami, then the selectors under Ajit Agarkar have the option of drafting in a bowler from the India ‘A’ squad which is currently playing in South Africa.

Before the first match against South Africa, the Test side members will play a three-day intra-squad match from December 20.

The second Test against the Proteas will start at Cape Town from January 3, 2024.

Meanwhile, Shami has something to cheer for as he was nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Award on Wednesday.

As per the information received from the Sports Ministry, a special request was made by the BCCI to the ministry to include Shami’s name as he originally didn’t figure in the list.

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