India fast bowler Mohammed Shami isn’t impressed with critics pointing fingers at fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah, following his lacklustre outing in the ODI series against New Zealand. Bumrah went wicketless in all three games, while giving away 167 runs as New Zealand swept India 3-0, and with questions being raised over his performance, Shami came to the to the 26-year-old’s defence, who slipped a place to No. 2 on the ICC ODI rankings for bowlers. Also Read - Bhuvneshwar Kumar Rubbishes Reports About Not Willing To Play Tests
“I can understand we are discussing on a topic (after a certain length of time) not just after 2-4 games. Just because he hasn’t performed in two games, you can’t just ignore his ability to win matches,” he said after stumps on Day 2 of the three-day warm-up between Indians and New Zealand XI. Also Read - Bhuvneshwar Kumar Does Not Want to Play Tests Anymore Hence Was Not Picked in Indian Squad For England Tour
“What Bumrah has achieved for India, how can you even forget that or for that matter ignore it? So if you think positively, then it’s good for the player and his confidence also.” Also Read - WTC Final: Virat Kohli Will be India's Gamechanger No 1, Rishabh Pant No 2 - Sanjay Manjrekar
Not too long ago, Shami was in Bumrah’s shoes, with lack of match form, off the field controversy and fitness struggles leading effecting his performance. But since his return in January last year, Shami’s flickering career received a fresh lease of life with the fast bowler picking up a World Cup hat-trick and emerging as 2019’s leading ODI wicket-taker.
Taking a shot at media, Shami explained how it can be tough for a fast bowler to return from an injury as serious as a stress fracture a urged people to dismiss the belief that Bumrah is no longer the bowler he was before his injury in September.
“As a sportsman, it’s very different. From outside, it is very easy to nit-pick as some have a job to comment and earn money. Every sportsman can get injured and one should try and look at the positives rather than harp on negatives. I also got injured in 2015 (knee surgery) but then bounced back,” Shami pointed out.
“People tend to think very differently and when you do not do well for a few games, their view-point about you changes. So on our part, we shouldn’t over-think.”
Shami further stated he revels being a guide to young pacers within the Indian team. Shami, along with Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini form India’s fast-bowling quartet for the two-Test series against New Zealand and the 29-year-old underlined the importance of having a senior pro mentoring young guys in the team.
“Experience matters as you then don’t panic easily. You have faced different situations and know what to do. That is valuable, he said. “So when an experienced player is around and you bring a youngster, he matures quickly. So in our team, we guide our youngsters, joke and laugh with them, make them feel comfortable so that they don’t feel that there is a distance between seniors and juniors.”
Shami called Saini a find in white-ball cricket and said he won’t be surprised if the Delhi quick is picked to play the first Test at Wellington’s Basin Reserve. Saini has been backed by the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra to be handed a Test debut and going by his outings in limited overs – 18 wickets from 15 matches – it won’t take a brave man to predict Saini’s name in India’s Test Playing XI.
“He is young, he has got talent, pace and height. So there are benefits. But yes, someone has to guide him and take him along the way. He needs support. He is bowling well but no one possesses experience straightaway. It comes with passage of time. Hopefully, it will come soon and we seniors are there to help him,” he said.
Shami led Indians’ strong fightback in the warm-up against NZ XI, claiming 3/17 from 10 overs, saying the conditions were ideal for fast bowling in Hamilton.
“It was a bit green and the wicket was damp on the first day compared to the second day. Yesterday (First Day) morning, it was challenging and we wanted to take up that challenge. Today it was drier compared to yesterday, with cloud cover, the conditions became helpful,” he said.
“There was good bounce and carry, so felt good bowling on a track. These kind of tracks are a rarity and since we have pacers of that calibre, we reaped its benefits.”