'I am always looking at how he doesn't have as much pace as us but still takes wickets'
India speedster Mohammed Shami is amazed at how Jimmy Anderson is able to deceive batsmen with his guile even when he is not as quick as his Indian counterparts.
On the eve of the fourth Test, the Indian pacer wished luck to Anderson, who at 557 scalps, is only seven short of becoming the highest ever wicket-taker among fast bowlers in international cricket surpassing Glenn McGrath (563 wickets).
"As far as learning goes, when you see a senior player (Anderson) performing before you like that, you observe him as much as you can. I am always looking at how he doesn't have as much pace as us but still takes wickets - what lengths does he bowl? You get to learn these things. He's a different bowler in different conditions," Shami told reporters at a media conference, in Southampton, on Tuesday.
"No matter where a player comes from, the first thing you have to see is what he works on in home conditions. We have been able to learn a great deal from Anderson. We saw him on the last tour here as well and he bowled really well. So far, what I've learnt from Anderson is that more accurate you are, the better it is for you," he added.
With Indian pacers doing a star turn with 38 out of the 46 wickets in three Tests being taken by them, the Bengal speedster said that it is their duty to deliver in conducive conditions.
"The responsibility is on fast bowlers to deliver in these conditions. We try out best and we have been trying our best. In the last series (in South Africa), you have seen we have done our job well too (picking 60 wickets in three Tests)."
"So the attempt is to not look at this entire series, but take it match by match. It is better for us to shorten it and look at it in that manner," said Shami.
While there has been criticism for Virat Kohli's chop and change policy in Test matches, Shami said that it has given them time to recover.
"We have such a bench strength that is so strong that we can change if we want to. Even if we don't change, we have such players that can bowl long spells in this format. But this chop and change policy is good (for the pace attack) because it allows us time to recover. So we have Test bowlers to play Test cricket and those who have ODI skills are playing shorter formats as well, to help raise the levels there," he added.
Ravi Shastri termed this attack as the best India has ever had by a mile and Shami is happy that compliments are flowing their way.
"We are seeing such an Indian bowling unit after a long time. When this is talked about, we also feel happy and enjoy our job. It is good for our country (Indian cricket) that we have got such an attack after a long time and if you compare one on one (with England or any other opponent), we have better bowlers. So when we hear this (praise), it feels very good and takes our confidence sky high."
The best part about the attack he feels is that each one is capable of bowling any delivery.
"The pace attack we have, we can bowl any delivery. You take Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav – whoever the bowler may be, we can do that (attack and contain)."
"It is good for us that we have so many options and we can evaluate which bowler is feeling better (confident). So we can pick options (accordingly) that this bowler should open the bowling or another bowler should do it. It depends on the fast bowling unit who wants to start."
Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin bowled at nets on Tuesday and looked to be fit again, albeit the team management didn't officially confirm the same.
While Ravindra Jadeja is available, Shami was asked about the possibility of India fielding an all-pace attack.
"It's hard to decide to field five pacers in a Test match. According to me, you need spinner because on the fifth day, it will turn for sure. I can definitely say that there will be a result on this wicket, and a good result," he replied.
Shami said that he has got over the personal issues that troubled him a few month back.
"The last eight months have been tough for me with the family matter. It doesn't matter what happened or didn't, the period was very stressful for me. I was disturbed about it for some time."
"At some point, I had to decide that representing the country came first. So I practised with that in mind. The place where I felt disturbed, I just got out of there. Somewhere I felt that if the country needed me and if I stopped, it would be a loss for my country. I was struggling with that issue, but being here matters more to me. I left that issue be and went as far away from it as I could. I thought about the country," he added.