File image of Mohammad Shami© AFP
Mohammad Shami has been one of the main pillars of the Indian bowling attack in the last decade. He is currently playing in he Border-Gavaskar Trophy and has been troubling Australian batters. The 32-year-old pacer has so far played 61 Tests taking 219 wickets. He also has 159 wickets in 87 ODIs and 24 scalps in 23 T20Is. Shami started his career in January, 2013. However, he often struggled with injuries in the early part of the career. On one such occasion, he wanted to give up the game, when former India coach Ravi Shastri and ex-bowling coach Bharat Arun stopped him.
“Just before the 2018 tour of England, we had a fitness test and Shami had failed it. He lost his place in the Indian team. He called me and said he wanted to have a word with me. So I invited him to my room; he was going through a personal turmoil. His fitness was affected, mentally he was gone. He came to me and said ‘I am very angry and I want to quit cricket’. I immediately took Shami to meet Ravi Shastri. We both went up to his room and I said ‘Ravi, Shami wants to say something’. Ravi asked what it was and Shami told him the same thing that ‘I don’t want to play cricket’. Both of us asked ‘What will you do if not play cricket?’ What else do you know? You know how to bowl when given the ball,” Arun told Cricbuzz.
Arun added that Shastri sent him to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. That decision changed the bowler, the coach added.
He further added, “So Ravi said ‘It’s good that you’re angry. This is the best thing that has happened to you because you have a ball in hand. Your fitness is poor. Whatever anger it is that you have, take it out on your body. We are going to send you to National Cricket Academy and want you to go there for 4 weeks and stay there. You will not go home, and only head to NCA. It suited Shami also because he had a problem going to Kolkata then so he spent 5 weeks at the NCA. I still remember the call he made and told me ‘Sir, I have become like a stallion. Make me run as much as you want’. The 5 weeks that he spent there, he realised what working on fitness can do to him.”
In his recent outing, in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Shami took three wickets on a track where spinners made merry.
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