Armed with a sturdy physique that allowed him to hurl a ball at searing pace and loads of self-belief, Shami traversed the rocky terrain of Indian cricket till he found his paradise — at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata against the West Indies in November 2013.
It didn’t take long for Shami to become the talk of the Kolkata Maidan, and the inevitable offer from a big club came soon enough as Mohun Bagan came calling. Joining a big club has its advantages and within one year, Shami was picked to play for Bengal in Ranji Trophy.
It was not until 2013 that Shami made his IPL debut for KKR. He played just three matches for them, but in those three seasons KKR’s bowling consultant Wasim Akram honed his skills and taught him the tricks of the trade, including the art of bowling reverse swing that he used to good effect in his debut Test against the West Indies later that year.
Shami has not looked back since then and has established himself as a key member of the pace attack. His superb work ethic and discipline has helped him remain injury free and he has shouldered the bowling responsibilities without moaning about the heavy workload.
In the absence of the injured Ishant Sharma, much will depend on Shami’s wicket-taking ability if India is to mount a serious challenge in the upcoming World Cup. Shami’s strike rate of 28.2 puts him in the top eight ODI bowlers in the world.
Shami Ahmed has to focus on the line and length. Last year he was leading wicket taker in One day Internationals. He needs to learn to take wickets with new and old ball. His smooth run-up to the wicket and easy action allowed Shami to generate good pace and his ability to fire away at the stumps meant his victims mostly had their woodwork disturbed. A moderate maiden first-class season paved the way for a moderate IPL contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011.