With 16 scalps in 5 test matches, he was the second-best performer among the Indian seamers in recently concluded India vs England test series, just after Ishant Sharma. In fact, for Mohammed Shami, the test series in England was a kind of revival. After returning to India, the star fast bowler spoke exclusively to CricketSoccer.com where he reveals his mantra of success and how confident he is to get into the world cup project of team India.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): In the test series in England, there were glimpses of a vintage Mohammed Shami, with his deadly swing and pace. You looked very confident…
Mohammed Shami (MS): I am quite satisfied with the way I bowled down under. I worked very hard. I took proper preparation before going to England. To get accustomed to the Duke ball which is used in England, I did a plenty of bowling with the same ball at my farmhouse at Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, under the supervision of my childhood coach Mr. Badruddin Siddiqi. I got rewarded for this hard work only.
CS: If we go back to the last couple of years in your career, you had a knee surgery and you have to tackle a number of fitness issues. You were even gets dropped from the national team. How did you overcome the issue?
MS: I trained a lot. I know I had some issues regarding my fitness. But it was not an exceptional case. For a fast bowler, injuries are very common, especially in the knees and shoulder. To be very honest, I did never like the idea to train in a gymnasium, working with weight types of equipment. Rather, I, along with my Physio and trainer at the National Cricket Academy at Bengaluru, chalked out a training program which included a lot of running. For two hours every day, I ran. It helps me to lose weight and I am a fitter Shami now.
CS: Though you lost the test series in England, but the performance of the Indian pace bowling unit was admired by everybody. Your take.
MS: Yes, we have a very potent fast bowling line up. In England, the three who featured in the playing XI enjoy a strong understanding between them. Those who had to sit out did encourage us a lot. It has become a system in our team to help and support each other. We know each other’s strength and weakness. We complement each other. We bowl in partnerships. We plan according to the batsman and focus on how to execute our plans in the field. We have experience. Our bench strength is also noteworthy. That’s why we look a balanced bowling unit.
CS: There were a few matches in the Test series which were closely fought, and though England were victorious, the result could go either way. Was it disappointing for the team?
MS: We are like a family. We help and support each other. We celebrate together and when we face a tough time, we stay together. Yes, we lost some closely fought matches which we could have won. But we are happy with the way we played. Our chief coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli always say to concentrate on our preparation. It’s important to give a hundred per cent on the ground. The result is not in our hands. We don’t blame each other for failure. Rather, we want to realize why we failed. It’s a kind of introspection.
CS: As a Cricketer, what did you learn from this tour?
MS: I learnt a lot. I learnt how to keep patience when I can’t take wickets. I beat batsmen a lot of times, yet didn’t get as many wickets as I should have taken. That is a big learning experience.
CS: You are not a part of the national team in the ongoing Asia Cup. It must have been disappointing…
MS: I look at it from a different perspective. I played all the 5 test matches in England and needed rest. Not being selected for the Asia Cup is a blessing in disguise for me. But yes, everybody wants to play as many matches as possible for the country. My aim is to bowl consistently and get a chance to play the World Cup next year. My first preference is to get into the world cup frame of the Indian team.
CS: So what is your plan to get into the world cup project? How are you approaching your goal?
MS: I have nothing to prove. My ODI stats will speak for me. I just concentrate on my level of fitness. I must work hard and take wickets consistently. The rest is at the selectors’ hand. They will take the final call.
CS: Which team do you find favourite to lift the Asia Cup?
MS: Of course India. We are far better as a team from the rest of the opponents. I will be surprised if India, somehow, failed to win the Trophy.