Mohammad Shami was the choice of bowlers for India that took five wickets for 44 runs in 16 overs as the visitors took a 130-run first-innings lead after bowling South Africa for 197 in the final session on day three of the first Test on Tuesday.
In the process, he simply became the 11th Indian bowler to claim 200 wickets in the test cricket and the fifth pacer behind Kapil Dev, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath. Shami’s five-for on Tuesday was, incidentally, his sixth in test cricket and only his second in the first round.
Shami rejected Rabada to complete his five-wicket move and also reached the 200-wicket milestone in his 55th Test match and also took the fewest balls (9896) to reach the milestone.
For someone who makes bowling look so easy, right from the moment he was released to the time the ball goes and hits the stump, Shami has consistently delivered in great moments for his team.
While Shami has grown in stature, his journey from Sahaspur to the Indian dressing room has experienced a lot of ups and downs as he also went through injuries, falls in form, criticism and personal issues. But it was his passion and the continued guidance under former India head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun that kept his passion alive.
Fastest 200 testwickets for India
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In a previous interview with The Indian Express, Arun had remembered how Shami was literally down in the dumps and had even thought about stopping the game.
“Shami was totally disillusioned. He was on the verge of giving up the game. When Ravi and I sat down with him, he said he was’ extremely angry at life ‘and’ I would like to give it up. ‘We said,’ it’s good you’re angry. You should be. Angry is the best thing that has happened to you. ‘ He looked at us questioningly – what do these guys say ?! We told him, ‘You’re a fast bowler; anger is not bad! Let’s get the bitterness out of it. Life has turned you into a very angry man, but what should “You do now? You can stop, it’s your choice, but you can also tell yourself that I’m angry, how do I channel it ?,” Arun had said.
“We told him, ‘Tu parts pay dhyan de. (Focus on your body, fitness). Go to the NCA (National Cricket Academy) for a month and get your body in shape. Remove the anger there. No arguments there, you do what you are told. ” He went and worked like a manic bull, I hear, and I remember he said to me, “more itna taaqat badh gaya ki (I have gained so much strength) I can take on the world!” added Arun.
“He was a strong guy and that anger phase actually helped him turn into something better. No matter what anger he had, he turned into his bowling. You don’t have to be aggressive, but controlled aggression is the key. His personality makes him still not too aggressive; so a bit of anger was good as it pumped him up. No more slack, no more ‘daalke dekhten hai, kya hota hai (let’s toast and see what happens). every time on top of his run. He was a real fast bowler now. “
“He’s a rhythm bowler, and it was clear that his whole bowling depends on the kind of run he generates. It was not about just running in fast. You run in fast enough, so you are absolutely balanced at the moment of delivery by folds. For him, that was the key. When he was out of balance, the transfer of power to the momentum of delivery was lost. What is the point of running fast and being unbalanced; the energy transfer goes down the drain. It was to find what is the optimal speed to run to create momentum, but to help Shami keep her balance. We explained the importance of this to Shami. Sometimes a too long step also affects the bowling. Sometimes he could do it. It makes no sense to be very stable, even if you are not able to generate power. So we tried it to find his optimal. It makes no sense to talk too much technique to him, ‘let’s do it and give feedback on how you feel’. Trials and errors work. “
“This can not happen if he does not trust and is willing to do hard work. He was. There were people who had told him – ‘do not change anything, work with what got you here’ – which of course is good advice, but where is the growth unless you try, especially when not talking about big changes? He was ready when he learned to trust. “