India call up Shami for Champions Trophy bid – Sharma replaces Rahul


NEW DELHI, May 8, (AFP): India recalled fast bowler Mohammed Shami to the squad that will defend the Champions Trophy title after suspending a battle over sharing out world cricket’s revenues.

Pace spearhead Shami and batsman Rohit Sharma are the only changes from the team that played England in three One-Day Internationals this year.

Shami takes the place of leg-spinner Amit Mishra while Sharma replaces Lokesh Rahul, who is recuperating from shoulder surgery.

Shami, who last played a one-day international in the 2015 World Cup, has recovered from injury and been playing with the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

Shami bolsters a potent Indian bowling attack featuring Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav, and seamer all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.

India’s participation in the 50-over tournament, to be played in England and Wales from June 1, had been in doubt after the national board fought the International Cricket Council (ICC) over revenue-sharing.

The powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) missed the April 25 deadline to announce a squad and threatened a boycott over the dispute.

A special BCCI meeting on Sunday voted unanimously to take part in the Champions Trophy.

The BCCI is furious at the ICC for amending its rules to divert power and money away from cricket’s major powers: India, England and Australia.

The BCCI stands to lose $277 million in revenue over the next eight years under the sweeping changes and its use of the Champions Trophy as a bargaining chip was strongly criticised.

But the board said it was keeping legal options open, indicating the row with the ICC was not over.

India’s three selectors avoided major surprises, offering little joy to youngsters like wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant despite his fine IPL showing.

Pant, 19, was named among five players kept on standby, along with Suresh Raina, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik.

Prasad said he was “completely impressed” by Pant’s performances for the Delhi Daredevils.

“He is one player who we are looking at for the future. We will groom him, nurture him and back him.”

Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made the squad despite missing the IPL due to injury.

India, who beat England in the 2013 final, take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game on June 4.

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