St. Lucia: Playing with five specialist bowlers did not yield a win for India in the second Test but pacer Mohammad Shami has endorsed his captain Virat Kohli’s theory, saying it makes the bowlers more productive.
India finally hit the nets at the Darren Sammy Stadium here on Sunday, after a three-day gap since the end of the second Test on Wednesday.
Thereafter, Shami stressed on the importance of a five-bowler attack and the need to focus on taking lower-order wickets, after West Indies stole a sensational draw in Jamaica. The third Test begins tomorrow.
“As a fast bowler you get more time and rest because that is important,” said Shami yesterday.
“You bowl 4-5 overs in a spell, and then, when you have five bowlers, you get 8-10 more overs to get rest. So the rhythm is better on return and you are able to make more effort. It is a very big plus-point that we have two good spinners and three fast bowlers playing in the eleven. This is a good combination and we want to keep it going,” said Shami.
India failed to take six wicket on day five in Jamaica after reducing the West Indies to 48 for four on the penultimate day. Shami defended the bowling effort.
“Whenever you get early wickets, there is always a long partnership in the match. It cannot be said that we made mistakes. They played very well and the wicket was a bit flat as well. The conditions were good for batting, and we have to praise them for their second innings. Our effort is to not allow a repeat of that and keep our confidence high as we look to win the next Test,” he said about the drawn Test.
Shami has made a great comeback to international cricket after nearly 18 months away owing to a knee-injury. So far he has picked 8 wickets in four innings at average 24.62.
Talking about his extensive rehabilitation, the Bengal pacer said, “When the operation happened, there was some doubt in my mind. But when I went through rehab in the NCA for 7-8 months, then the doubt went out of my head. I told the doctors and trainers to put as much load on me as possible, because I didn’t want any recurrence after returning to full fitness. I wanted to start again from where I left off, and thankfully I have been able to do so. Hopefully I can keep going in the same vein.
“During my away time, my only focus was to reduce my weight and control my diet as much as possible because that would mean getting back to fitness would be easier. Even so I have lost nearly 14-15 kg, which went above because I was in bed for two months. So I had to work hard to lose it all and the result is for all to see now,” he said.
(REOPENS FGN 11)
The best part about Shami’s comeback has been that he has not lost any pace, and his short ball has become better in terms of penetration.
“There are only two ways to test the batsmen – either you can pitch it up or you can bowl short. So my plan is to make the batsmen uncomfortable, find out what his weakness is and keep bowling at it. I was trying to read their weakness early as well as working out what lengths to bowl on different pitches. It helps with working out the batsmen,” added the speedster.