Punjab pacer Mohammed Shami has confirmed that he is fit and 'ready to go ahead' following his lengthy lay-off from the field after suffering a fractured forearm during India's first Test against Australia in December 2020.

Shami's last cricketing action was during India's first Test against Australia where he had injured his wrist after being hit by a short ball of Australia's Pat Cummins. The pacer has been working on his fitness since and had to miss the entire series against England. The 30-year-old was undergoing his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy and has now said that he is roaring to get back on the field.

“I am absolutely fine and read to go. The injury while batting was unfortunate as I have not had fitness issues for a long time but this was something I couldn’t do anything about but it is part of the game,” Shami told PTI.

“I always look at the positives. The last season was good for me and hope I can carry that form into the Indian T20 League. Because of the injury, I got more time to be ready for a big tournament like the Indian T20 League.

“I was at NCA most of the time. I could have gone back home but because of the current environment, I decided to spend more time at NCA as the facilities are much better and you can follow the pandemic protocols.”

Shami was Punjab's best bowler in the previous edition of the Indian T20 League where he picked 20 wickets at an economy of under nine. This is Shami's personal best tally in the Indian T20 League. Even his best bowling figures of the tournament - 3/15 - came in the previous edition.

It was evident that the Indian pacer had little support from his fellow pacers, but the team tried to make up for it by bringing in the likes of Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith and Moises Henriques ahead of the new season. Their arrivals mean Punjab now look like a better team on paper, and Shami seems pretty confident that their bowling department will put on much better performance this year.

“We can’t change the past. I tried my best last season and also help the fellow pacers whenever I could. We got good overseas players now. It is a stronger squad so we should do better this time,” said Shami of the team which won five games in a row but also lost matches they should have won, dashing their playoff prospects.

“Your mind has to be absolutely clear in the shortest format. As a unit we did good work but lost close matches we should have won. The support staff and players were frank with each other about that.

“Our death bowling seems better compared to last year, so we should do better.”

Punjab begin their 2021 Indian T20 League season against Team Rajashthan on April 12 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran