After spending almost 18 months out of the game with a knee injury, the tour to West Indies has played the role of comeback series for Indian pacer Mohammad Shami. Ahead of the third Test, the pacer, who has taken eight wickets in the series, stated that he has started from where he had left off.
A four-wicket haul in the first innings of the first Test against West Indies had announced Shami’s successful comeback to the India whites. The last 18 months were filled with pain for the pacer after an operation in the left knee kept him in the crutches. Speaking to media ahead of the third Test against West Indies at St. Lucia, Shami opened up about his successful comeback from the injury.
“After the operation happened, there was definitely some doubt, but I spent 7-8 months at NCA, and after that all the doubt was gone, because I had worked so hard, put so much load on myself, that there was no tension over the workload to come. It was just a matter of confidence, how I show my confidence, and the effort was to start where I had left off. By the grace of Allah, I have started just the way I had left off, and I have hope that this will go on for a long time,” said Shami.
Although he is known to be a very good reverse-swing bowler, Shami used a lot of short balls during the first two Tests to trouble the Windies batsmen.
“There are only two things you can use to test a batsman, either by bowling full or bowling short, so my plan was just to determine which length was making a batsman uncomfortable, and I have been trying to read that quickly,” said the West Bengal cricketer.
However, Indian bowlers had a hard time on the fifth day of the last Test after Roston Chase took it upon himself to save the Windies from a defeat. When asked about it, Shami said, “The biggest thing in Test matches is that there will be ups and downs. And they played well. The wicket became a little flat too, so the conditions were good [to bat in]. We have to praise them for playing well, the way they built their innings. We will try to not let them get that far next time, and keep our confidence high and try to win the next match.”
India, under Virat Kohli, have employed the five-bowler strategy in the Test series, and Shami believes that it is good to have three pacers and two spinners in the line-up as it will give everyone a rest after a spell.
“As a fast bowler, you get a little more time [between spells], because it's important to get time to rest after bowling your spell of four or five overs. If you have five bowlers, you get 10-15 overs more to regain your breath, and you come back with better rhythm, and put in more effort. It's a big plus point for us to have two good spinners and three fast bowlers, and we have a good combination going.” the 26-year-old said before concluding.
India will take on West Indies in the third Test at St. Lucia on August 9 (Wednesday). Virat Kohli and co. are currently leading the four-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test.