Am all ready and excited for Cricket World Cup: Mohammed Shami

first_imgFor Mohammed Shami, the journey from the 2015 Cricket World Cup till this year’s edition of the quadrennial tournament has been a roller-coaster of emotions. The semi-final loss at the Sydney Cricket Ground four years ago was followed by a painful, career-threatening injury. Just as it healed, came a much bigger blow – the separations in personal life which left him a broken man.Shami had the option of sulking and sinking or rebounding and pumping a new life into his career. The choice he made is now known to everyone.”Yes, it has been a very difficult period. I never run away from difficult circumstances. I face them bravely and always remain positive. As far as cricket is concerned, it took me nearly 18 months to recover from the knee injury and play for the country again. Not just physically, it is mentally very disturbing too. You have to be very strong to counter it. Patience is the key as the daily procedure, the recovery regime, the repetitive nature of the entire thing can irritate and depress anyone. It is difficult to sit out and watch the team playing matches without you. I will never forget that year and a half of my life after the last World Cup,” Shami told India Today in an interview.The patience and resilience shown by him paid dividends.As Indian pacers went on a record-breaking spree in Test cricket last year, Shami finished 2018 with 47 wickets from 12 matches. Done with the whites, the fast bowler then booked his World Cup ticket by taking 14 wickets in the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand. He also became the fastest Indian to claim 100 ODI wickets, an achievement big enough considering the handful of ODIs he had played in the three year period after the 2015 World Cup.advertisement”I am thankful to God that I have been able to make this record. There are many reasons behind it. Biggest is the unbelievably brilliant atmosphere in the dressing room, followed by the confidence that I have in ability right now and also the things that I continue to learn from our coaches. Everything has contributed and combined to take me to the another level. There are many minute things which bring in a lot of confidence and help us to get into the rhythm. For instance, not just on the ground, have a look at the way we (Indian players) treat each other off the field too. We enjoy every little thing. This helps a great deal.”Minutes after Shami received the player-of-the-Series award in the ODI series against the Kiwis, coach Ravi Shastri said that if he had to “single out one stand-out player” for the team in past five months, it would be the pacer from Amroha.”I am grateful that I have been very fit over the last seven, eight months. I want to continue focusing on my line and length. That is exactly what I did and the results are there for everyone to see. I am all ready for the World Cup. As you can see, I have lost weight too. I am trying to improve my fitness and focus on the game. I want to give my best,” says Shami.In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Shami enjoyed getting the new ball in New Zealand but is “always ready” to come in and bowl at any stage of the game and in any type of conditions. As is the case with the ICC events, the World Cup in England too will have flat tracks on offer but that doesn’t deter the pacer.”I think we will witness exciting contests in England. The wickets will be good, the conditions will be excellent. Not only the ball will be hit all over the park but will also carry for the bowlers. So it will be a 50-50 scenario for both. Execution will be the key, how much a bowler can focus on his line and length will be the key.”It certainly would be and the reason India is being labelled as favourites this time around is not just because of the enormous strength it possesses in the batting department. In recent times, the bowlers have stood up to the occasion like never before.”You need a package and we have a full package. Be it the pacers, the spinners or even the part-timers, everyone is perfect in making a contribution. The role of Kedar (Jadhav) is also brilliant in between all of us. We have fast, swing, variations and all the other qualities you can think of in the three formats. This is the reason why our bowling attack is the best in the world right now,” Shami says proudly.advertisementOne big reason, according to him, is the fitness attitude and ruthless approach brought in by skipper Virat Kohli.”I feel the biggest factor for my comeback has been the change in the culture of the team, the fitness awakening that we have had has had a huge impact on me. I looked at others and worked on my game. I have enjoyed it fully. The fitness culture that we have in our team is amazing, you cannot even think about it. We have changed it completely in the last four or five years. Also, the best thing about Virat is that the players feel comfortable to discuss anything with him. A captain should know how to get the best out of each player and Virat is a master in it. The biggest plus about him as a captain is that all of us always remain chilled out, bindaas and discuss anything with him. With a free hand that he has given, we are able to achieve everything.”Chilled out is what Shami wants to be always even after taking a crucial wicket in a high-octane clash. Unwanted aggression isn’t his forte.”This has been my basic nature and I do not wish to change it. I feel happy to get the job done and do what the team expects of me. To celebrate, I have Virat!”last_img

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