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Consistency paying dividends for pacer Shami

February 10, 2014 17:15 IST

Consistency paying dividends for pacer Shami

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Since his debut against the West Indies in November 2013, Mohammad Shami has grown in leaps and bounds.

His complete control of line and length and making good use of favourable conditions means the pacer is fast emerging as India’s bowling spearhead.

Shami was the star of the Indian bowling attack in the second innings of the 1st Test against New Zealand in Auckland. He rattled the Kiwi top-order and ended figures of three for 37, to help India make a resounding comeback into the Test.

At the start of play on day one, he bowled with fire, using the bounce in the EdenPark pitch to good effect, forcing Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford to question their technique.

Considering the sting in his bowling -- he beat the bat regularly -- Shami should have picked up more wickets in the first innings.


Image: Mohammed Shami of India celebrates the wicket of Hamish Rutherford
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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He was the toughest Indian bowler on display in best batting conditions in Auckland.

Even as Brendon McCullum hit a double hundred and the Kiwis crossed the 500-run mark, Shami was the only Indian frontline bowler to not concede 100 runs.

What was also impressive was that he gave runs at only 3.39 runs per over in his complete spell of 1-95 in 28 overs.

Compare this with stats of other bowlers: Zaheer Khan (2-132 in 30 overs) gave away runs at 4.40 per over, Ravindra Jadeja (1-120 in 26 overs) at 4.61 per over and despite his six-wicket haul, Ishant Sharma (6-134 in 33.4 overs) went at 3.98 per over.

At the end of the first innings, McCullum pointed out that "some days you just cannot get wickets. Shami bowled very well and didn't get the rewards".

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had also praised Shami for consistency in the first innings.


Image: Mohammed Shami celebrates bowling Corey Anderson
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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In five Tests since his debut, Shami has taken 21 wickets. Out of these, he has bowled batsmen 13 times and has another three successful LBW appeals.

It hints at a control of line and length that is sometimes found lacking in other bowlers like Ishant, who despite his nine-wicket haul in the first Test in Auckland, is yet to achieve the consistency of a bowler who has played 54 Tests for India.

Dhoni perfectly summed up Shami’s bowling, saying, "In the sub-continent, if you can bowl quick, two bouncers and an over-pitched delivery can get you a wicket. At some international venues, this won't really work. Shami is someone who keeps his line and length really close to the batsmen. His seam positioning is really good and he can bowl quick as well. Now, as he plays more matches, he is learning other ways to get batsmen out. 


Image: Mohammed Shami
Photographs: BCCI

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