Shami Ahmed thanks Wasim Akram, Gautam Gambhir for guidance

India beat Pakistan by 10 runs in a low-scoring thriller at New Delhi on Sunday © PTI

New Delhi: Jan 7, 2013

Indian seamer Shami Ahmed on Monday recalled the valuable inputs he has received from Gautam Gambhir and former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram, as he played his first game in international cricket and contributed in the team’s consolatory win in the third ODI against Pakistan at New Delhi.

Shami impressed with the bowling figures of 9-4-23-1, including the penultimate over, which was a wicket maiden, to contribute in India’s win.

He told, “I’m quite used to that situation when I play for Bengal because all the weight of the bowling is generally on (Ashok) Dinda and me, especially in such situations. Having said that, international cricket is a different ball game altogether and there was pressure.”

“The intensity is on a different level when playing against Pakistan. As a player, you’re perhaps much keener to do something special. But when bowling my last over, I decided to calm my nerves and try to do the sensible thing of stopping runs rather than going all-out for wickets. I knew as the run-rate goes high, the pressure on them will keep mounting,” he added.

Shami also recalled the special moment when he got his India cap from senior cricketer and Kolkata Knight Riders’ teammate Gautam Gambhir.

“I’ve never been as happy in my life as I was the moment I got my first India cap. Gautam bhai presented me the cap and told me that this is just the beginning. He said my aim should be to play for India for a long time. It was special coming from him,” he said.

“Making my debut against Pakistan and performing pretty decently to help the team win – there’s not much more I could have asked for,” added Shami.

The Bengal seamer said it makes huge difference when fielders do their job perfectly.

“As a bowler, even if I bowl a bad ball and don’t go for runs, it does boost my confidence. In fact, it motivates me further and I automatically tend to bowl follow it up with a good ball. It was very cold and it was difficult to keep the body warm and agile. Since the fielding was good, the intensity was high and that helped a lot,” he said.

Talking about the valuable feedback he received from Akram, Shami said, “The small things that he’s taught me have made me a better bowler. Things like bowling with the old ball, reversing it and maintaining it, which line to bowl when you’re trying to reverse swing the ball. He’s taught me a lot when it comes to using the white ball.”

Shami concluded, “As an opening batsman Gauti bhai keeps telling me what a new ball should do to trouble the batsman. Every time I bowl to him in the nets [at KKR] he doesn’t only concentrate on his batting. He makes it a point to give me honest feedback on every delivery, which helps me improve.”