Mohammed Shami credited the atmosphere in the Indian dressing room and the coaching staff to make a comeback into the Indian limited overs and throw in his hat in the race for a spot in the World Cup squad. “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,” the pacer told India Today.
Shami made his comeback into the Indian limited overs setup during the series against West Indies in 2018 and has since then gone from strength to strength. He was declared man of the series after India’s succesfull ODI series in New Zealand. It was during this tour that he became the fastest Indian bowler to get to 100 ODI wickets.
“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,” said Shami.
Shami’s recent performance is also part of a comeback arc from a career-threatening knee injury that he suffered in 2016. “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,” said the pacer.
Shami is expected to next be seen in India’s ODI series against Australia. He was named in the squads for all five ODIs alongwith pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Siddhart Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar. Pandya however has since been ruled out due to injury.
He will then turn out for Kings XI Punjab in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League that starts on March 29. Shami was bought for Rs 4.8 crore by the 2014 runners-up.