Experienced guys like Umesh Yadav will be called back if they are fit and fine, postulates Rohit Sharma
Umesh Yadav last played a white-ball game for India in 2019 and has just seven T20Is under his belt|
Rohit Sharma has asserted that the likes of Umesh Yadav don't need to be playing regularly for India to receive the occasional call-up given their past contributions to the team at the highest level. He went on to discuss the other options the team had and why picking Yadav was a simple decision.
India are set to take on Australia in a three-match T20I series against Australia on home soil and will be featuring premier pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel in the team after an extended break of two months. However, less than a week ahead of the first game in Mohali on September 20, another key bowler Mohammed Shami tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of the playing contingent and being replaced with Umesh Yadav. The 34-year-old has not played white-ball cricket for India since 2019 but had a good season in the Indian Premier League, potentially the reason for his sudden call-up.
Similarly, Shami had not featured for India in T20Is since the last World T20 and isn't a part of the main squad for the upcoming edition as well but was still made a part of the squad against Australia. The Men in Blues' captain Rohit Sharma has clarified that the likes of the experienced duo have earned a right to represent India when in form with their contributions over the years regardless of the present structure of the side.
"Guys like Umesh, Shami, who have been bowling for a long time. They do not need to be playing a format to be considered. They have proven themselves as players in whichever format they have played. We understand the quality, it is the new guys on whom it will depend whether they have played this format or not. But guys like Umesh and Shami, if they are fit and fine, they will be called back," the skipper was quoted saying by India Today in a press conference.
Yadav has represented India in over 50 Tests and 75 ODIs, scalping an impressive 264 wickets. However, he has played just seven T20Is, conceding at a rate of 8.76 runs an over while picking just nine wickets. Nevertheless, he made a mark with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2022, tallying 16 wickets at an economy of 7.06. In recent times, the likes of Avesh Patel and Prasiddh Krishna have been favoured over the old guard but their unavailability also paved the path for Yadav's comeback to the T20I squad.
"We don't need to look at their form, we saw how Umesh bowled in the IPL. He bowled really well, he swings the ball, bowls fast. That was the thought, pretty simple actually. It was not much of a discussion for us. Keeping in mind World Cup is around the corner, we have tried a lot of players. We are very much clear in our thought process and how we want to move forward," Sharma explained.
"There were few options, but few of them are injured like Prasidh (Krishna). Siraj is playing county, we do not want him to fly all the way, maybe play one or two games. That won't be fair. Obviously, Shami, unfortunate incident with him. Avesh was quite sick in the Asia Cup and he needs some time to recover. From fitness point of view, he needed some time and rebuild his fitness. All those things were considered," he concluded.