Mohammed Shami's return from injury will do India a world of good in their long season ahead © Getty Images
Mohammed Shami’s return from injury will do India a world of good in their long season ahead © Getty Images

Still relatively new to international cricket, Mohammed Shami made his international debut against Pakistan in Delhi in 2013, after representing Bengal in a handful of First-Class and List A matches. He was India’s best fast bowler in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, where it was later revealed he played the entire tournament with a knee injury. As a result, he stayed out of international cricket for 18 months, but made a triumphant return to the side during India’s tour of West Indies, starting off from where he had left off. Shami has the knack of bowling fast, moving the ball – old and new – both ways and is an integral part of India’s set up today. On his 26th birthday, let’s have a look at some of Shami’s best spells across formats. Happy birthday, Mohammed Shami! India pacer turns 26

4 for 71 & 5 for 47 vs West Indies at Kolkata, 2013 (Test): Representing Bengal in the domestic circuit, Shami could not have asked for a better place to make his debut in. Playing at the iconic Eden Gardens, Shami picked up nine wickets on his Test debut. He picked up four wickets in the first innings, which included wickets of Marlon Samuels , Denesh Ramdin and also opener Kieran Powell. He dismissed Samuels and Ramdin again in the second innings, but did one better as he finished with five wickets in the second innings, taking his match tally to nine as India won the match by an innings and 51 runs. On any other day, his performance would be deserving of a Man of the Match, but Rohit Sharma’s 177 earned him the award, who was incidentally on his Test debut as well. READ: Did Virat Kohli ask Mohammed Shami what Anil Kumble had asked Ishant Sharma?

4 for 35 vs Pakistan at Adelaide, 2015 (ODI): India began their World Cup title defence against Pakistan in the 2015 edition. Any match between these two arch-rivals, regardless of where it is played, draws a lot of fanfare. This was no different. After all the build-up, all the talking, it was finally time for some action. It was MS Dhoni, who had won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first. India rode on a brilliant century from Virat Kohli and went on to post 300 on the board. In reply, Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually folded for 224 in 47 overs. Shami removed the three most experienced players of Pakistan – Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi – and finished with 4 for 35 in his 9 overs. India maintained their 100 per cent record of beating Pakistan in World Cups and eventually crashed out in the semi-final against co-hosts Australia. India picked up 77 out of a possible 80 wickets in the tournament.

4 for 50 vs Bangladesh at Fatullah, 2014 (ODI): India began their Asia Cup 2014 campaign against hosts Bangladesh in the second match of the tournament. Shami opened the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar at this occasion and was India’s pick of the bowlers in the match. Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim scored 117 and led his side to a competitive 279 for 7 in their 20 overs. Bangladesh could have scored closer to 300, had it not been for Shami, which would have been perhaps hard to chase down. Shami got all the crucial wickets. He struck in the sixth over to remove Shamsur Rahman for 7. Bangladesh had consolidated well and threatened to get a total close to 300, before Shami dismissed Naeem Islam and Nasir Hossain in quick succession at the death. He then rounded it up the wicket of Mushfiqur in the final over. Kohli’s brilliant 136 handed India a comfortable six-wicket win in the end. READ: Mohammed Shami’s triumphant return to Tests bodes well for India ahead of a long season

3 for 52 vs Australia at Bangalore, 2013 (ODI): This match will be remembered for Rohit’s brilliant 209, but Shami did his job with the ball extremely well. In another run-fest, India, courtesy of Rohit’s double ton posted a mammoth 383 for 6 on the board. Shami’s three wickets were of extremely dangerous batsmen. He dismissed Aaron Finch first and returned in the later stages to get rid of the centurion James Faulkner and Shane Watson. Shami conceded at 6.36, but given that the required run rate of close to 7.8, it could be said that it was a convincing performance from the fast bowler. He was well supported by Ravichandran Ashwin, finishing with 2 for 51 off his 10 overs. Australia at one stage threatened to win the match, but they were eventually bowled out with 57 runs short and 29 balls remaining. They would come much close or perhaps gone on to win the match had they batted the entire 50 overs. This win handed India the lead in 7-match series by 3-2. READ: Anil Kumble: Really pleased with Mohammed Shami’s comeback

3 for 38 vs England at Edgbaston, 2014 (T20I): Shami has not played many T20Is for India, and in whatever little he has played, his numbers are not particularly good. But out of his six games so far, he had one of his better ones against England at Edgbaston in 2014. After losing the Test series, India bounced back extremely well to win the ODI series. India would have backed themselves to carry their momentum into the one-off T20I match as well. England were heading towards a modest score until skipper Eoin Morgan’s 31-ball 71 completely changed the match around. He hit as many as seven sixes in his innings, to take England to a competitive score of 180. Out of the seven wickets to fall, Shami had three scalps, but went at close to 10 an over.

He started things off well, dismissing Jason Roy Early. He returned in the death overs to remove the dangerous Jos Buttler for 10 and then to add the icing on the cake to get rid of Morgan in the final over, but the damage had already been done. India had a strong batting line-up with the likes of Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni all in good form. But they eventually fell three runs short, despite a valiant 41-ball 66 from Kohli.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world’s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)