Harare: All-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed on Tuesday received his maiden India call-up as he replaced an injured Washington Sundar for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe starting Thursday.
The 27-year-old Shahbaz has been rewarded for his stellar performance in the 2022 IPL season, where he turned out for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The Bengal left-arm spinner collected 219 runs and four wickets in 16 matches, leaving a mark.
The Southpaw has a batting average of 41.64 and a bowling average of 19.47 from 18 first class games.
"The All-India Senior Selection Committee named Shahbaz Ahmed as the replacement for Washington Sundar for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe," the BCCI said in a statement.
Sundar's return to international cricket has been further delayed as a left shoulder injury sustained during a 50-over game for his county side Lancashire has now ruled him out of three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe.
"Yes, Washington Sundar is ruled out of the Zimbabwe series. He has suffered an injury on his left shoulder while fielding during Royal London Cup game between Lancashire and Worcestershire at Old Trafford. He will have to undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy," a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source told PTI on condition of anonymity.
It has been a rough last 12 months for the talented spin bowling all-rounder from Tamil Nadu, who has missed one series after another due to various types of injuries as well as COVID-19 related issue.
"You feel for Washi. Such a talented guy. Somehow or the other, the rub of the green isn't going his way. He needs some luck. The latest injury is a freak one as he was just about to play for India in a week," another official privy to the development said.
Sundar's saga of never ending injuries started back in July, 2021, when he had a fractured finger while batting for Combined Counties against Indian team in a warm-up game.
He played for county side so that India could test all its players before start of the series.
That injury led to him missing the entire domestic season and then before white-ball series in South Africa in January, 2022, he was down with COVID-19.
In February-March, he missed the twin white-ball home series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka because of a hamstring injury.
During the IPL in April-May, he split his webbing and missed out on five games for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
After an extensive rehabilitation, the BCCI played a role in getting him a county deal with Lancashire and he also had a five-wicket haul in a days' game for the 'Roses'.
The 22-year-old has so far played four Tests, four ODIs and 31 T20Is.