Mohammed Shami    AFP
Mohammed Shami AFP

Delhi Daredevils bowling coach James Hopes today hinted that pacer Mohammed Shami‘s personal problems in recent times may have affected his game. The 28-year-old fast bowler has had a rough time off the field with his wife Hasin Jahan filing a police complaint against him for domestic violence and accusing him of match-fixing. He also sustained a head injury after his vehicle collided with a truck when he was on way to Delhi from Dehradun following a short training stint before the IPL.

Shami’s participation in the Indian Premier League was cleared after the BCCI offered him a fresh central contract, which it had withheld following his wife’s police complaint.

“I think he has got some personal stuff going on. And it’s tough to concentrate on the job sometimes. Players try to use cricket as a release. Everywhere you have to sort out your off-field stuffs before you start performing on the field. He is in the process of doing that and it obviously is going to take some time. This season is not yet over for him and we are aware,” Hopes said of Shami.

The bowling coach was speaking on the eve of the beleaguered franchise’s game against Kolkata Knight Riders tomorrow. Besides their woeful run of form, the Daredevils were in news yesterday when Gautam Gambhir stepped down from captaincy after losing six of their seven matches in the ongoing IPL.

“We have given ourselves very little room for error now. We sometimes got ourselves to winning positions and possibly a team that hasn’t had much success over the last few years and they don’t know what to do when they are in those positions. I have been involved in enough tournaments like these now. Over the last few years I think there has been only one team that has made the semifinals on 14 points. So, 16 points is the magic number. But if you get onto that run and maintain that you will be one of the hot teams going into the play-offs, like Mumbai Indians few years ago,” Hopes said, still preferring to be optimistic.

The last time these two teams met, Kolkata Knight Riders decimated Daredevils by 71 runs. Young Shreyas Iyer is now being tasked with leading the embattled outfit and when asked about the change, Hopes said, “Shreyas loves it, he does really enjoy being in senior position, he is very clear, he is pretty clear about what he wants to do, same with GG (Gambhir). He has got his own ideas on tactics which is great. Worse case we mat lose of couple of more games under a new skipper but I fully expect his batting to go up. He is playing beautifully at the moment.”

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik said a match between two-evenly sides are on the cards, not reading much into DD’s poor run. He said spin will continue to play an integral role as the tournament progresses because of the heat, which slows down wickets. Asked about the change in him as a player, he said, “I have been consistent with my thought process, captaincy has changed my approach towards a lot of people, lot of things,” Karthik concluded.