India are likely to retain their playing XI for their next match against Sri Lanka at The Oval.
India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that Mohammed Shami is the one player with the least match practice among the four fast bowlers in the squad which is why he was kept out of their opening game against Pakistan on June 4.
Shami returned to the team for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 after spending more than two years recuperating from the shoulder injury.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah are the in-form bowlers for India and hence, have been Kohli’s preferred choice.
“Shami has not played 50-over cricket for a long time and I am glad he bowled really well in the practice games. But I felt the others – Umesh, Bhuvi and Bumrah – had much more match practice and had the performances to back that up,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference on the eve of their clash against Sri Lanka.
Kohli though made it clear that Shami is always in the scheme of things of the team and is a proven match-winner. But he will step in only if someone else gets injured.
“A bowler like Shami will always be in the scheme of things for us. He is the sort of guy who can win you games in any form of cricket. He is feeling his way back in and is certainly an asset.
“If, god forbid, something happens to someone, we have someone like Shami who’s ready to strike and has proven himself. That just shows our bench strength,” Kohli added.
Umesh was the pick of the bowlers for India in their first match against Pakistan, getting 3 wickets for 30 runs in 7.4 overs while Bhuvneshwar Kumar got one wicket. Bumrah was as usual economical in his five-over spell and helped build pressure on the Pakistani batsmen.
India are likely to go in with the same playing XI in their next match against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Thursday. A win would see the Men in Blue go through to the semi-finals alongside hosts England.
Rohan Sen, indiatoday.in