BCCI still unsure about Shami’s availability for T20Is against South Africa, Umran on standby: Report

After securing a come-from-behind 2-1 series win over Australia, Indian team has now landed in Thiruvananthapuram to take on the Temba Bavuma-led South Africa side in a three-match T20I series, starting from September 28.

Bavuma & Co. had landed in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday for the tour which also includes three ODIs. This is South Africa’s second trip to India after taking part in a five-match T20I series in June this year, which ended in a 2-2 draw after the series decider at Bengaluru was washed out due to rain.

As per the already announced squad for the T20I series against South Africa, which is their last bilateral series before flying to Australia for the Men’s T20 World Cup, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya will be going to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for conditioning-related work while Arshdeep Singh is in the squad against South Africa after missing Australia series due to the same reasons.

But there are doubts over the availability of Mohammed Shami for the upcoming T20Is against South Africa. Shami was scheduled to play his first T20I since the end of the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup against Australia. But a positive Covid-19 result days before the start of the first T20I in Mohali ruled him out of the entire series, with Umesh Yadav announced as his replacement.

According to a report in Insidesport, tearaway pacer Umran Malik has been asked to be on standby if Shami isn’t available for the series against South Africa. Malik, who has played three T20Is for India since his debut against Ireland in June this year, is currently with the India A side playing a three-match one-day series against New Zealand A in Chennai.

“I am not exactly aware about the current situation about Shami and his fitness. The medical team will have the details about it,” an unnamed BCCI official was quoted as saying in the report.

Shami is one of the four players who will travel to Australia with the main Indian team as a traveling reserve for the Men’s T20 World Cup. After the first T20I at Thiruvananthapuram, India will play against South Africa in second and third T20Is at Guwahati on October 2 and Indore on October 4 respectively.

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