Mohammed Shami has taken over the mantle of India’s spearhead © Getty Images


Mar 13, 2014


With the Indian pace bowling continuing their pursuit to find the right balance before the ICC World Cup 2015, Mohammed Shami’s meteoric rise has brought a smile on the Indian fans with his consistent performances ever since his memorable Test debut against West Indies.


Starting the season with consistent performances against South Africa, despite a forgettable tour earned him praises while his partner Ishant Sharma continues be unreliable to the team’s plans with his blink and miss form.


The Uttar Pradesh Pacer has played nonstop for six months and there are fears of a possible burnout, which Team India can ill afford with Shami, but the 24-year old pacer remains fit and hungry for more success, “I returned from the Asia Cup five days before this tournament started and thought playing a game would help me stay match-fit. I’m someone who stays fit by playing regularly, rather than taking rest. I tend to get lazy when I take rest,” Shami said in a Times of India interview.


The above gusto is exactly the kind of attitude that has epitomized Shami, who has won hearts and was recommended by pace legend Wasim Akram and the pacer justified his claim by taking four for 25 against the formidable Tamil Nadu side to steer Bengal to the semi-finals of the Vijay Hazare trophy.


Tougher challenges await Shami in the upcoming ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh where flat wickets and shorter boundaries are sure to be a deathbed to the bowlers, when quizzed on his strategy for the big tournament, “In a T20 match, there’s little scope to try out something different as your four overs are over in no time,” Shami said.


With the big-hitters of the world licking their lips to tonk the ball out of the park, the margin of error is very small in the shortest format of the game, to which Shami replies, “I don’t think there’s much difference in terms of line and length in any format of the game,”


With Pakistan getting the better of India in the Asia Cup tie, there will be a lot riding on the opening match of the tournament against India’s arch-rivals but Shami remains blaze about the poiboiler encounter, “This ‘big match’ tag is for the media and fans only. For us, it is just like any other match and we prepare for it normally,” he said.


Shami was glad to make inroads in the Vijay Hazare trophy tie in Eden Gardens, the very ground where the pacer finished with a nine-wicket haul on his Test debut, “I always try to bowl my heart out and was happy to get the results [at Kolkata]. I hope to carry on with the same fire,” he said.


Shami concluded by saying that he loves bowling with another strike bowler, which was Ashok Dinda for Bengal and is working hard on his fitness and endurance levels, “I am working hard on my game and am always trying to improve. It’s always good to bowl as a unit. It’s important to complement each other. I and [Ashok] Dinda supported each other very well.”