Mohammad Shami, the Indian pace bowler, has tested COVID positive. This news comes during a time when the Indian men’s cricket team are gearing up for a three-match T20I series against Australia, the defending T20 World Cup champions. The pacer did not join the rest of the Indian squad, who reached Chandigarh on Saturday to prepare for the tournament.

The 32-year-old pacer last played for India in the 2020 T20 World Cup. His experience in the format and the exceptional performance he put up for the Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022 (20 wickets in 16 matches) will be missed by the Indian squad in the upcoming series.

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Shami was excluded from the Asia Cup 2022 and also the 2022 T20 World Cup squads. Although this angered many fans, who lashed out against the BCCI on social media, this can give India an opportunity to test their selections for the upcoming ICC event. Cricbuzz reports that despite not featuring in the team against Australia, the pacer will be travelling to the country as a T20 World Cup reserve.

The BCCI has also announced that Umesh Yadav is set to replace the pacer in the Indian squad. Yadav last featured for the Indian T20 side in 2019 in a series that was also against Australia. 

Yadav’s performance in IPL 2022 for Kolkata Knight Riders is likely to have played a part in his selection to the Indian squad again. In said tournament, the pacer claimed 16 scalps in 12 matches with an economy of 7.06.

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India and Australia will face each other in three T20I matches in Mohali (September 20), Nagpur (September 23), and Hyderabad (September 25). This series will give both sides an opportunity to test their strengths and weaknesses ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup that commences on October 16. Australia are the host of this year’s tournament.