India’s star of the show on the fifth and final day of the first Test against South Africa, Mohammed Shami has lauded captain Virat Kohli for giving bowlers the freedom to decide the length of their spells.

Shami picked up a five-wicket haul as India dismissed the tourists for 191 to notch up a huge 203-run win in Visakhapatnam and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series.

“Virat Kohli as a captain always hears us out and gives us the freedom to follow our strategy during the match. He has given us the freedom to take a call on whether we want to bowl 5 overs or 7 overs or more – he says, ‘if you have the power, go ahead and bowl’. That’s when we take a call that we will bowl three overs but with full power… That’s the understanding we have. He trusts us, and we trust him,” Shami said during an interview with the broadcasters after the match.

He also hailed the efforts of Ravichandran Ashwin, who picked up a wicket to become the joint fastest to reach 350 Test wickets and Ravindra Jadeja (4/87).

“Ashwin has a lot of Test cricket experience and he bowled very well in both the first and second innings,” Shami said.

“When you have great bowlers like Ashwin and Jadeja in the team, the fast bowlers can breathe easy and relax, knowing that they are there,” the pacer said.

The second Test will begin on October 10 in Pune, while Ranchi will host the third and final Test which will get underway on October 19.