Mohammad Shami was the bowlers’ pick for India, taking five wickets for 44 points in 16 overs as the visitors took a 130-point lead in the first inning after beating South Africa for 197 in the final. session on the third day of the first test Tuesday.
In the process, he became just the 11th Indian pitcher to claim 200 wickets in the cricket test and the fifth point guard behind Kapil Dev, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath. By the way, the five for Shami on Tuesday was his sixth in the cricket test and only his second in the opening heats.
Shami fired Rabada to complete his five-wicket run and also hit the 200-wicket milestone in his 55th test match and also took the fewest balls (9,896) to reach the milestone.
For someone who makes bowling seem so easy, from the moment they come out until the moment the ball hits the stump, Shami has always been efficient in big moments for his team.
As Shami grew in stature, his journey from Sahaspur to the Indian locker room saw a lot of ups and downs as he went through injuries, drop in form, criticism and personal issues. But it was his passion and the continued guidance of former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun that kept his passion alive.
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In a previous interview with The Indian Express, Arun recalled how Shami was literally on the brink and even considered quitting the game.
“Shami was totally disillusioned. He was about to give up the game. When Ravi and I sat down with him he said he was ‘extremely angry with life’ and ‘I want to give it up.’ We said, ‘It’s good that you’re angry. You should be. Anger is the best thing that ever happened to you. He looked at us questioningly – what are these guys saying ?! said, ‘You’re a fast bowler; anger isn’t bad! Let’s get the bitterness out of it. Life has made you a very angry man, but what are you going to do now? You can stop, it’s your choice but you can also tell yourself that I’m angry, how can I channel it? ”, said Arun.
“We told him, ‘Tu shareer pay dhyan de. (Focus on your body, your fitness). Spend a month at the NCA (National Cricket Academy) and get your body in shape. Take out the anger there. No arguments there, you do whatever you are told. He went to work like a maniacal bull, I hear, and I remember him saying to me: “simple itna taaqat badh gaya ki (I have gained so much strength) I can face the world!” Added Arun.
“He was a strong guy and that phase of anger actually helped him turn into something better. Whatever anger he had, it turned into his bowling alley. You don’t have to be aggressive, but controlled aggression is key. His personality doesn’t make him too aggressive anyway; so a little anger was good because it made him swell. No more laxity, no more ‘daalke dekhten hai, kya hota hai (let’s bowl and see what happens). He was now focused and ready every time at the peak of his momentum. He was a real quick pitcher now.
“He’s a rhythmic bowler and it was clear that all of his bowling depends on the kind of momentum he generates. It wasn’t just about running fast. You run fast enough that you are absolutely balanced by the time of delivery at the fold. For him, that was the key. When out of balance, the transfer of force in the momentum of delivery was lost. What is the point of running fast and being unbalanced? the energy transfer goes to the sewer. It was about finding what the optimal running speed is to create momentum, but to help Shami maintain balance. We explained the importance of this to Shami. Sometimes a stride that is too long also affects bowling. Sometimes he could do it. You don’t need to be very stable too if you are unable to generate force. So we tried it to find its optimal. No need to talk too technical to him, ‘let’s do it and give feedback on how you feel’. Trial and error works.
“It can’t happen if he doesn’t have confidence and is willing to work hard. It was. There were people who had told him – “don’t change a thing, work with what brought you here” – which is good advice, of course, but where is the growth unless you try, especially when you not talking about big changes? He was ready when he learned to trust.