What’s the story?
Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami is looking forward to utilising the upcoming IPL edition as a platform to get back into rhythm. The 27-year-old also opened up on fellow speedster Umesh Yadav’s impressive performance in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy while lauding regular skipper Virat Kohli’s gesture to carry drinks during the final Test in Dharamsala.
Shami affirmed, “I always try to support my team when I am not fully fit and not playing. The IPL comes at a good time for me as I am fit now and can get into rhythm. The platform is there for me, and in IPL it's all about curtailing wide balls. That will also help me get back into rhythm.”
On the recently completed Test series against Australia, he felt, “Our fast bowlers did a great job. They bowled with pace and there was swing too. Umesh has been brilliant and will continue with his good form in the future as well. Virat's gesture of carrying water on the field is (also) a big thing. He always keeps motivating the team. He is always looking to contribute.”
Arguably India’s best fast bowler across all formats, Shami operated with menace during the start of the home season. With game-changing spells in the New Zealand series and the first three Tests against England, he was a key part of the bowling attack. However, a hamstring injury prevented him from taking the field for the remainder of the season.
The heart of the matter
Shami returned to action towards the end of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. With spells of 0/36 and 4/26 against Gujarat and Tamil Nadu respectively, he was propelled into the squad for the fourth Test against Australia in Dharamsala. However, the team management decided against rushing him back into action.
In his absence, Umesh took up the mantle as India’s pace spearhead and ended the Australia series as the most prolific fast bowler. Despite being ruled out of the final Test due to a shoulder injury, captain Kohli could not be kept out of the proceedings. He carried drinks to his teammates and was often spotted sharing suggestions with debutant Kuldeep Yadav near the boundary.
The 2017 IPL season is slated to begin on April 5. Representing Delhi Daredevils, Shami will be seen in action when the franchise gets its campaign underway against Royal Challengers Bangalore on the 8th. With the Champions Trophy scheduled in the aftermath of the Twenty20 tournament, all eyes will be on his fitness and form.
With his ability to move the new ball both ways and propensity to nail the yorkers in the end overs, Shami is extremely vital to India’s Champions Trophy defense. A strong showing in the IPL will help him regain rhythm and attain peak fitness by the time the ICC tournament starts.