Ranji tie: Shami yet to join Bengal team
Kolkata : Although he made himself available, India pacer Mohammed Shami is yet to join the Bengal squad on the eve of their Ranji Trophy match against Kerala at the Eden Gardens here from Tuesday.
Shami is the only player from the Test squad for Australia cleared by the BCCI to play Bengal's Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fixture on the condition that he would only bowl 15-17 overs per innings.
The likes of Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin, both part of the Test team, have been asked to skip Ranji games.
Shami was expected to join the side on Sunday but was conspicuous by his absence till the eve of the match.
Clearing the air, Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary said that Shami, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, had gone to his native place and would join the side Monday evening.
"There's a death in his family. He's gone to attend that. Family is always first priority. He is coming this evening. I have no issues," Tiwary told reporters here.
"I don't think he has done it purposefully. There's a reason behind it."
Shami's inclusion in the squad has revived Bengal's hopes for the season's first win after they secured six points from two matches on the basis of their first innings lead.
"He is the number one Test bowler for India. He is such a quality bowler that he would not have any issues (in straightaway) joining without practice."
Tiwary added that Shami is keen to take part in the game before leaving for the Australia tour where India will play four Tests beginning in Adelaide on December 6.
"He was very keen about playing. He said he's available for the second match. Then we did the formalities (of seeking permission from BCCI)."