Shami named in India’s delayed Champions Trophy squad
NEW DELHI: India recalled fit-again fast bowler Mohammed Shami on Monday as they belatedly unveiled a squad to defend their Champions Trophy title after a row over sharing out world cricket’s revenues.
Pace spearhead Shami and batsman Rohit Sharma are the only two changes from the team that played England in a three-match one-day series in India this year.
Shami takes the place of leg-spinner Amit Mishra while Sharma replaces Lokesh Rahul, who is recuperating from shoulder surgery last month.
“It is a balanced team, an experienced team and I think we have picked the best possible side,” chief selector MSK Prasad told reporters.
India’s participation in the 50-over tournament, to be played in England and Wales from June 1, had been in doubt after its powerful cricket board fought the International Cricket Council (ICC) over revenue-sharing.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) missed the April 25 deadline to announce a squad and threatened a boycott over the dispute.
But the BCCI, the world’s wealthiest cricket board, held a special general meeting on Sunday where members unanimously decided to take part in the Champions Trophy.
The BCCI is furious over the ICC’s decision last month to amend rules so that less money and power is held by cricket’s major powers: India, England and Australia.
The BCCI stands to lose $277 million in revenue over the next eight years under the sweeping changes.
The BCCI’s use of the Champions Trophy as a bargaining chip was strongly criticised and Indian cricketing greats including Sachin Tendulkar urged the country to compete.
The BCCI has said it was still keeping its legal options open, indicating the row with ICC is not yet over.
The three-member selection panel avoided any major surprises, offering little joy to youngsters like wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant despite his fine performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
But Pant, 19, was named among five players kept on standby, along with Suresh Raina, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik.
“We have not just taken IPL performances but last year’s performances were also considered. And experience becomes of paramount importance in such a big tournament like this,” said Prasad.
“Completely impressed with the way Rishabh Pant is playing,” added Prasad.
“He is one player who we are looking at for the future. We will groom him, nurture him and back him.”
Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made the squad despite missing the IPL due to injury.
“Ashwin’s injury was not serious and we wanted to give him a break. In fact his franchise has been magnanimous to accept our request of resting him,” said Prasad.
India, who beat England in the 2013 final, take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game on June 4.
Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Manish Pandey.