The credit for India’s world-class pace attack should always rest “only and only” with its playing members, feels Mohammed Shami, whose five-wicket haul has put India in complete control against South Africa in the first Test.
Shami’s sixth five-for in Tests also brought up a personal milestone of 200 wickets on a day when the four-pronged attack bowled the Proteas out for 197.
Over the past few years, one has always heard bowlers at times making it mandatory to have words of praise for the support staff, especially former coach Bharath Arun but Shami took a divergent route.
“Indian pace bowling is a formidable one because each and every member has worked hard and achieved it all with their sheer hard work.
“They have created their own little units (niche) for themselves and yes they are the ones who have put in immense amount of hard work in the last 6-7 years. They are here on their own,” Shami gave a detailed and loaded answer without naming anyone.
“Yes, credit goes to support staff. They support your skill but it’s not fair that you take any particular name. What you should see is what kind of effort that these boys have put in and I give credit to boys who have put in the effort,” Shami was very clear about what he felt.
350-400 run lead with four sessions to bowl at
On the match situation, the senior pacer feels that a lead of 350-400 in the second innings and at least three to four sessions to take a crack at South Africa batters will help them achieve a well-deserved win.
“A lead of 146 is fine but two days are still left. We have to bat for the better part of tomorrow and if we can make around 250 (in second innings) and the lead is close to 400, then we can give them four sessions or may be a bit more.
“But that depends on captain but a minimum of 350 to 400 runs will be required for sure,” Shami said.
Shami’s 200-wicket milestone
For Shami, the more you harness your skills, the better results you are bound to get as it happened in his case.
“No one can ever dream as to what he can ultimately achieve when you are coming up the ranks and struggling to make a mark. Your dream is to become an India player and play with those whom you have seen on TV.
“All you can do is work hard and if you work hard you are bound to get results.”
For Shami, if someone is playing at this level, he should learn to adapt.
“Test match isn’t any rocket science. If you are a Test level bowler, you should know your lengths and also have an idea of conditions and adapt accordingly.”
Still a boy from Village whose father cycled him 30 km to coaching camp
Shami still has an earthen feel to the way he talks and how lucidly he can express his feelings just like the seam position of his deliveries that seem so natural.
“My father has made me what I am today. I come from a village (Sahaspur, UP’s Amroha) where there aren’t many facilities and even today there aren’t all facilities available.
“Even then, my father would cycle me 30 kms to take me at coaching camp and that struggle I still remember. In those days and those situations, they invested in me and I am forever grateful.”
During Covid-19 induced lockdown, Shami and his family donated ration to the needy and also arranged for buses to send labourers to their respective homes.
“My family has ingrained certain values in me and it includes standing by people in their hour of need, helping the distressed.
“My parents were associated with politics and served the people locally and its in my blood. Lockdown required me to help people and I did that.
“If you work hard, Allah grants you success but then you should never leave your own people. Bas ek doosre ka saath rahna chahiye,” he said.