Returning to Test cricket after 18 months, Mohammed Shami surprised everyone by dismantling West Indies’ top order with sheer pace and bounce on a pitch that looked like a bowler’s nightmare. Shami along with Umesh Yadav made light work of the opposition’s batting by taking four wickets apiece and dismissed them for 243 in their first innings before being asked to follow on. India had declared their first innings on 566-8.
Shami, returning from a long layoff of, struck early in his spell and it looked like he was never out of the game. He took the huge wicket of Darren Bravo and then followed it up by dismissing Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood to leave West Indies staring down the barrel.
In an exclusive interview with BCCI.tv, the right-arm pacer said that the birth of his child helped him to calm down after suffering a frustrating injury.
“It has almost been 18 months since I last played a Test. I got injured in Australia and underwent a surgery. My wife helped me a lot through the period as I was bed ridden for two months. In the same time, our baby (daughter) was born and that calmed me down as I was upset at getting injured since I was bowling really well. The birth of my baby helped me take the focus away from the game and I could re-energize myself. Also in the same period, I had put on about 15 kgs. I resumed my training and worked really hard in the NCA and then during the preparation camp. I felt that today, I could carry on from where I had left. I didn’t feel like there was any extra load. Today, I felt I bowled the same manner that I used to,” Shami was quoted as saying by BCCI.tv.
Commenting on the team’s plan, the pacer said: “We had batted on this wicket and knew that it was a slow wicket. The plan was to bowl at a consistent spot for long periods of time and that is why we were successful.”
Shami, who made his Test debut against the same opposition, further said he is ready to accept any challenge thrown at him by skipper Virat Kohli.
“It depends on the captain and on the situation. I always think of ways to help my team in any given circumstances. I have pace and swing so my captain can use me at any juncture. I can also get the ball to reverse, so I can bowl with the old ball too,” added Shami.
Meanwhile, the pacer from Bengal also became the 15th Indian pacer to take more than 50 wickets in Test cricket. He also drew level with former Indian pacer Venkatesh Prasad’s record as the fastest Indian pacer to reach 50 wickets in 13 Tests and 24 innings.