TOI has learnt that currently Shami isn’t one of the first-choice pacers in limited-overs cricket for the selectors and team management.
Shami hasn’t been picked for any white-ball series for India post the disastrous T20 World Cup last November. While the selectors had cited that Shami was rested for the home series against West Indies last month, no such reason was given for the subsequent T20I series against Sri Lanka. Shami has just played five Test matches since the T20 World Cup.
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TOI understands that the team management and selectors are moving towards having specialist bowlers for different formats. Shami will be briefed about the situation.
“It’s difficult to sustain all-format bowlers for all conditions. Jasprit Bumrah is the only one who has excelled in all formats. This team management believes in presenting a clear picture to all the players. Shami will surely be spoken to,” a BCCI source told TOI.
In his nine-year career, Shami has only played in 17 T20Is and has an economy rate of 9.54, and his overall T20 economy rate is not flattering.
“His ODI career is much better placed. But this IPL will be a kind of trial for him to be considered for the T20 World Cup and he also understands it,” the source added.
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TOI also understands that the team management is keen to have more multi-skilled bowlers who are also very swift in the field. Along with Shami, Ashwin’s white-ball career too seems to be hanging in balance for same reasons. Having two slow fielders in the XI is not the ideal situation.
India’s first-line T20 seam-bowling attack comprises of Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj and Avesh Khan.
“With Shardul and Deepak, it helps in lengthening the batting line-up, which enables the top order to go hard from the word go. Shami is an invaluable asset in Test cricket. The team would want him fresh for every Test in the rest of the World Test Championship,” the source said.
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The team management and selectors will also have a close eye on the progress of Venkatesh Iyer and Hardik Pandya who would be vying for the seam-bowling all-rounder spot.
In the spin department, there will be keen interest in leg-spinner Rahul Chahar. Chahar has been out of action due to injury after playing against New Zealand at home in November.
“Rahul is an exciting prospect. This IPL will be an indicator and help the selectors on trim the pool of players,” the source claimed.