Mumbai, Dec 7: India are sweating over fitness concerns to their leading pace bowler Mohammed Shami who had complained of soreness in his knee after the third Test against England at Mohali.
Addressing the media on the eve of the fourth Test in which the hosts have taken a handy 2-0 lead, India captain Virat Kohli said that a call on whether the UP-born Bengal pace bowler will play will be taken this evening.
"We are going to take a call in the evening in terms of how he (Mohammed Shami) is feeling with his knee. After the Mohali Test he felt soreness in his knee, so we need to take a corrective call all on that," said Kohli at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday (Dec 7).
Shami had undergone knee surgery after the last World Cup and was out of cricket for 15 months and Kohli said this was the reason the team did not want to push him to play if the bowler was not comfortable.
"Because he has a history of knee surgery, we don't want to push a player to an extent where we lose him for the whole season. So we will take a call, as I said, in the evening, to how much rest he needs, or he can go for tomorrow as well. There is still a bit of time for that to be decided," said Kohli.
Shami has been the stand-out performer for India in bowling after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin this year, with a bag of 29 wickets in three rubbers, including ten in the current series in three games.
Yesterday, head coach Anil Kumble had complimented Shami and his fast bowling colleague Umesh Yadav for bowling very well with not only the new ball but also with the old at the fag end of the day and rattling England batsmen with their pace.
If Shami misses the game, it will give an opportunity for swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar to return to the playing eleven, considering that Ishant Sharma has also been released from the squad.
Kohli, however, gave the thumbs up to opener KL Rahul, who missed the previous Test because of a shoulder injury picked up in the second Test at Vishakapatnam.
"Rahul is fine. He and Murali Vijay being specialist openers in the squad will open the innings," he said, indicating that makeshift opener at Mohali, Parthiv Patel, will go down the order.