Copy of 2023-10-22T134659Z_2130119246_UP1EJAM12A891_RTRMADP_3_CRICKET-WORLDCUP-IND-NZL-1697992328758
India's Mohammed Shami celebrates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Matt Henry at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala, on Sunday. Image Credit: Reuters

Dharamsala: Fast-bowler Mohammed Shami spearheaded an Indian fightback in the last 10 overs to pick a superb 5-54 as the hosts bowled out New Zealand for 273 in 50 overs in the top-of-table-clash at the HPCA Stadium on Sunday.

Shami also became the first Indian bowler to take a five-wicket haul twice in Men’s ODI World Cups. Harbhajan Singh, the former India off-spinner, said Shami’s statute in bowling is as high as Virat Kohli’s in the current team.

“What Mohammad Shami has done is remarkable because in the next match, when Hardik Pandya returns, it will be an interesting question of who will be left out. Mohammad Shami’s stature in bowling is as high as Virat Kohli’s in this team. When you bench such players, it indicates the sheer talent present in the team.”

“But watching him today, it didn’t feel like he had been sitting out for a while. The rhythm in which we had seen him play in Mohali (ODI against Australia) where he took 5 wickets, and today, he has taken 5 wickets again. Consistently taking 5 wickets is not easy, especially in one-day cricket,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Disney+ Hotstar, where the tournament is being live-streamed for free on mobile.

Perfect start

Shami had a perfect start on his first ball of the match when Will Young chopped onto his stumps. He then returned in the last 20 overs of the innings, using yorkers and fuller deliveries to good effect, to take out Rachin Ravindra, Daryll Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, and Matt Henry.

“So, no amount of praise for Mohammad Shami can be enough. There’s no one better in the same position. His yorkers, slower balls, and bouncers are unbelievable. It shows that he is, in his own right, similar to Virat Kohli.”

“We hold Virat Kohli in high regard on this stage and often talk a lot about him when he scores a century. But when someone takes 5 wickets, it’s just as good as scoring a century. So, today, the entire show should be about him,” he added.

Harbhajan also felt that New Zealand all-rounder Rachin Ravindra has all the ingredients to be a future cricketing star. Ravindra walked in when Devon Conway fell for an eight-ball duck and saw Will Young chop onto his stumps.

On a roll

Ravindra, who began his tournament with an unbeaten hundred against England, was tentative at the start, but found some boundaries and began to grow into his role when the spinners came in, using his feet a lot and the lofted shot to good effect in making a fine 75 off 87 balls, laced with six fours and a six.

“He plays proper cricketing shots. Yuvraj’s talent for these shots was amazing. His batting sense was very straightforward — he never played the ball from afar. He looked at playing it very straight, in the V. But Rachin Ravindra doesn’t have the flow that Yuvraj had. Yuvraj had a different flow, a different power.”

“He doesn’t possess the same power, but he exhibits that form. He is a delight to watch. When you observe him play, you can’t imagine him getting out. He handles all types of bowling very well, whether it’s fast bowling or spin. He is still young and of Indian origin.”

“However, coming to India and performing in the World Cup, making runs against such a formidable team, demonstrates his strong mentality. Based on what we have seen so far, he is a future star of world cricket,” he concluded.