One big plus for Team India on the West Indies tour has been the return of Mohammed Shami. The pacer had endured a long layoff from cricket. He had knee surgery in 2015 after which he was on crutches for 40 days. There was a question mark over his career as he spent many months recuperating. It was a severely depressing time for Shami.
When he landed in West Indies, the question was whether he would be able to withstand the rigours of Test cricket. The team knew it was crucial for them to have Shami firing on all cylinders. On the evidence so far in this series, Shami has made a remarkable comeback, bowling with rhythm and pace. Obviously, the team management is de lighted and relieved.
And who could be happier than the man himself. What has made this turnaround possible?
“No secret to it, just the hard work you have seen I put in during my time at the NCA. I told doctors and trainers to give me as much load as possible because I didn’t want any doubt going ahead into the season. After that, I worked in the nets and did as many sessions as possible and put in as much effort.I am thankful to god and I hope it keeps going in the same vein.“
What was his focus during the time he was out of action?
“My only focus was to reduce my weight as much as possible. I have lost nearly 14-15 kg… my weight went up as I was on the bed for two months,“ said Shami.
What happened on the final day of the second Test in Jamaica, during which India could take only two wickets in the entire day? “We have to understand that in Test cricket ups and downs happen. But they also played well. Even the wicket was a bit flat and the conditions were good for batting. Our effort will be to not allow a repeat of that.“
Test captain Virat Kohli has insisted on playing five specialist bowlers as much as possible.How does the five-bowler theory help? “As a fast bowler you get more time and you get more rest because that is also important.You bowl 4-5 overs in a spell and then the rhythm is better on return and you make more effort.So this is a very big plus.“
Coach Anil Kumble said that the team would look at the Jamaica Test and come back with some new plans for the third Test.What are those plans? “Test cricket is about patience and the more patience you show the better it is. The effort is to make sure that we make the batsmen play at his weakness and make him induce errors.“ With the third Test beginning on Tuesday at the Darren Sammy Stadium, any thoughts on the pitch? “No, you cannot just look at the pitch and read it. Only after bowling you get to know how it behaves and you have to identify that quickly to understand the conditions.“