Birmingham: On Thursday, India’s Mohammad Shami produced another great spell following his hat-trick against Afghanistan.
At Old Trafford, he took four wickets against West Indies to once again announce that he should not be dropped even if Bhuvneshwar Kumar recovers from injury.
Many felt that Shami deserved the man of the match award against the West Indies as he had bowled India to victory, although the award was given to top scorer Virat Kohli.
Shami stood smiling after the match, and when he was asked if he was bowling faster than usual, he said: “I am in my comfort zone now. The moment I lost weight, I found a rhythm for myself, and that is a good feeling. I also feel less tired and am able to put more force. So my bowling speed has also increased. As far as skill is concerned, I have full faith in myself and know that I will be able to get results on any type of wicket.”
It is Shami’s confidence in his skill that has brought him to this level today.
“I am always ready to perform as and when I get my chance.” he said.
Does he credit anyone for guiding him to this state?
Without trying to be modest, he said: “I would like to credit myself because I am the one who has faced the biggest challenges in my life for the past one-and-a-half to two years, But I confronted it well. So I will give credit to myself. Of course, God gave me the courage to fight my issues — fitness and family. Now I am hoping to do my best for the country.”
The setback of failing the yo-yo test played a big role in improving his fitness.
“Yes, it true that I failed the yo-yo test. But that helped me become more determined to improve my fitness,” he said.
“And today I am feeling fit. I am now trying to maintain my rhythm, my fitness, and diet.”
When asked to talk about the prize wicket of West Indies’s Chris Gayle, he said: “Gayle and I have been together during the IPL. So I have an idea of how he plays. Hence I knew that if I don’t allow him to open his arms, then it will be frustrating for him. Then at some stage, he will go for it.”
How was it to be waiting for a chance to get into the playing XI?
Trying to adopt a realistic approach, Shami said: “It didn’t matter because the 15 of us have come to play for India. You have something in you and that is why you are here. So it did not matter if I did not get the chance to play. I was patient about it, and it was also important to stay positive with the rest of the team. So there was no pressure of any kind since all of us are playing for our country.”
So how does he see the next challenge of playing against England?
According to Shami, there is no point in trying to assess the opponent.
“Strong belief in your skills will definitely help you trouble your opponent,” he said. “If you focus on your skills and plans and execution, then I feel the opposition will be in trouble.”