Due to his continuing COVID-19 recuperation, Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of India’s three-match T20I series against South Africa, while Bengal all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has taken the position of Hardik Pandya, who was rested.

The series will start on September 28 in Thiruvananthapuram.

The national selection committee will reinstate middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer for the South Africa series since all-rounder Deepak Hooda will also be out due to back spasms.

“Shami is still dealing with the effects of his COVID-19 infection. He needs more time, thus he won’t be taking part in the South Africa series. In the South Africa series, Umesh Yadav will take Shami’s spot.” A top BCCI source told PTI, on the condition of anonymity.

However, when questioned why Shahbaz was picked over Pandya, the source replied as follows: “Is there another versatile seam bowler who can replace Hardik? We retained Raj Bawa in India A because of his extreme underdevelopment and to provide him with exposure. He will need time to mature. Please tell me another name.”

In the Irani Cup match versus Saurashtra, Hanuma Vihari will serve as captain of the Rest of India team.