New Delhi: India pacer Mohammed Shami's return after a lengthy injury spell comes as a positive note for the in-form hosts in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20. India beat West Indies by 45 runs in a warm-up encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday and Shami's impressive outing must have pleased skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Shami's figures of 4-0-30-2 highlights a sound return given what the bowler has gone through with injuries for close to a year. The Bengal pacer, who had to prove his match fitness in order to seal a spot in the squad, ticked off the boxes his skipper would have wanted.
Despite him missing the recently concluded Asia Cup, the Indian thinktank still stuck with him for the World T20Is and that plan looks to go in a positive direction. The Indian team had a clear vision with Shami given his experience and prowess with the ball and after performing well on Thursday, the cloud over his return was gone.
Shami might not get a chance to feature in the Indian side when the main draw starts from March 15, but it serves a reminder that the team's bench strength is solid. With Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra excelling in the pace bowling role for India, Shami's inclusion in the squad gives a healthy feeling in this vital phase.
Shami needs confidence to be ready when required and the game against West Indies will contribute immensely given the starry batting line-up they possess. India's next and final warm-up game is against South Africa on Saturday and Shami would hope to come good against a world class side.
MS Dhoni has been an ardent admirer of Shami and the pacer's return of trust in the past will see him be an integral member of the side given his consistency and role. Shami mixed his bowling well and attacked the stumps just what the Indian team has always wanted him to do.
Expectations will be high as always from Shami and with the performance on Thursday it seems as a new start for him. Shami has worked hard to make a return from the knee and hamstring injury he suffered in between and the ease in which he looked at the Edens, it shows a tough mental character in the bowler.
Shami will be eager to take one step at a time and it isn't long when India will hope to see their premier bowler donning the role of a leader of the bowling pack soon.