Mohammed Shami hinted at team India taking the safe route on Day 6 and insisted that it will not be practical to come out swinging with the mindset to score runs quickly. Shami revealed that India will prioritize run scoring and only think of a victory once they have enough runs on the board.
As we head into the sixth and final day of the inaugural World Test Championship final, all three results are very much possible with India 32 runs ahead, having lost both openers. A bowling performance similar to one on the morning of Day 3 would all but seal the match for New Zealand, while the path to victory is a bit more complicated for India, who would need to score quick runs to not just set a substantial target for the Blackcaps to chase, but give the bowlers enough time to take 10 wickets.
But despite fans urging Virat Kohli’s men to go for the kill, pacer Mohammed Shami believes that such an approach is easier said than done. Speaking at the press conference post day 5, Shami revealed that India will prioritize stretching the lead and ensuring safety, and added that declaration is something they will consider later in the day. The ace pacer insisted that it won’t be practically possible for the batsmen to come out with a pre-planned mindset to blow the Kiwi bowlers away.
"We have lost a lot of time due to rain. So there is no discussion as such, on a total. We have just started our second innings and we need to put runs on the board," Shami said at the press conference.
“We have to score as many as possible and then see how much time is left to put them in and decide accordingly. In conditions like England, anything can happen but we simply can't pre-plan in mind that we can get them out in this many overs. You need time to get 10 wickets and some solid plans in place. But first, we need to score enough back-up runs.”
That India will enter the final day with a chance to win is all down to Shami. The veteran was the star of the day for India on day 5 as he picked four crucial wickets to ensure that the Kiwis did not go out of sight. India brought about New Zealand’s downfall by keeping the noose tight, and Shami revealed that being flexible with plans enabled the Indian bowlers to succeed.
"Obviously, as you play the Test match, you can't stick to one plan for five days. You need to be flexible and set up lines as per the track. We needed to bowl those tight lines which benefit the team in order to restrict New Zealand to as less as possible. So the pressure created momentum and we got wickets."
Shami was by some distance India’s most expensive seamer, going at nearly 3 runs an over, but the flipside was that he ultimately ended up taking the most wickets, constantly enticing batsmen to make errors. Shami was India’s ‘Mr. Aggressive’ on Day 5, and the 30-year-old revealed that he did nothing but follow his captain’s instructions.
"Whenever I have been entrusted with a responsibility, I have put in my whole hearted effort. Whatever be the situation, I know what the captain wants and then I follow his instructions. I have always been an attacking bowler who goes for wickets,” Shami said.
One more wicket would have given Shami a maiden five-wicket haul in England, but the 30-year-old insisted that he is someone who really does not bother about personal milestones.
"When you play for India, you have no such regrets. You can't think about personal milestones."