MUMBAI: Mohammed Shami last played ODI cricket in an attempt to win an ICC Trophy and now he returns with the same goal ahead of him. The 26-year old was India’s best bowler in the 2015 World Cup but since then chronic leg injuries had put a halt to his 50-over career. Fully fit now, having played the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Bengal and the IPL for Delhi Daredevils, he was among five fast bowlers picked in a 15-man squad to play the Champions Trophy in England. A similarly important player, Rohit Sharma reclaimed his spot as first-choice opener. He had spent five months nursing a shoulder injury, which had “scared him” until he had met with doctors and received clarification. He came back to competitive cricket in March and has played all 11 matches for Mumbai Indians in the IPL. The national selectors, who met in Delhi on Monday, were content with two spinners in the squad. R Ashwin, who is currently recovering from a sports hernia, and Ravindra Jadeja can perhaps expect part-time assistance from Yuvraj Singh, who kept his spot after his ODI career was given a re-start in the series against England in January.
India have made it a point, under new coach Anil Kumble, to test their injured players in domestic cricket before picking them for internationals. But Ashwin was chosen without having to go through those rigours because he was resting as opposed to injured. It is understood that the BCCI had asked his IPL franchise Rising Pune Supergiant to give him that time off and they had agreed. MS Dhoni was the only wicketkeeper in the squad, with Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik among a list of stand by players. MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, said Dhoni was gun player in crunch situations and his inputs to captain Virat Kohli have always been valuable. India squad: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami