Punjab Kings head coach Anil Kumble on Saturday confirmed that Indian pacer Mohammed Shami has regained his fitness and hence is good to go in their IPL 2021 campaign opener against Rajasthan Royals on April 12.
Shami had incurred a wrist injury during the Adelaide Pink Ball Test against Australia in December last year and hence was ruled out of all the successive matches that India played Down Under and at home. However, Shami had begun low-intensity training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru earlier last month, as reported by Sportstar and Kumble feels that the pacer is fit to be back in Punjab’s playing XI in their first game.
“He is fine as far as I know. He is coming to the bio-bubble for the quarantine and he will be out in a few days. I know he hasn’t played any matches since his injury but he is good to go. We are really looking forward to him playing a few practice games and then getting ready for the first game,” Kumble told Sportstar.
Shami will be part of an exciting pace lineup that Punjab Kings have managed to form following the IPL 2021 auction in Chennai last month. The franchise had roped in Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith for INR 14 crore and INR 8 crore respectively, adding to the likes of Chris Jordan, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, and Darshan Nalkande. Besides, they also have a pace all-rounder in Moises Henriques, who was picked for INR 4.2 crore this auction.
“I think in the smaller auctions, people tend to forget that the options are minimal. Every team wants to reinforce and fill the gaps and since the options are lesser, you tend to spend a lot more on the players. We wanted to have a squad that gives us options in case we want to rotate a few of our fast bowlers. Even our young Indian pacers are exciting. It is a fairly long tournament and the conditions will be pretty hot,” reasoned Kumble.
Kumble further confirmed that KL Rahul will be their first-choice wicketkeeper ahead of Nicholas Pooran and Prabhsimran Singh.
“K. L. will be starting as a wicketkeeper and then, we will take a call. He did a great job last year and he will continue this year as well.”