Team India fast bowler Mohammed Shami is unarguably one of the most underrated pacers in world cricket. He made a sensational Test debut against West Indies at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in November 2013, claiming nine wickets (4-71 and 5-47) as the Indians hammered the Windies by an innings and 51 runs.
Following the brilliant start, Shami was termed by experts as the next big thing in Indian cricket, especially in the fast bowling department. The meteoric rise of Jasprit Bumrah and the simultaneous struggles of Shami due to injury, form and personal issues, though, meant that the Bengal pacer’s international career was in jeopardy.
Shami, though, overcame his tough phase in rather incredible fashion to reestablish himself as one of the key members of the team, particularly in the Test arena. Few fast bowlers have a seam position as impeccable as the 32-year-old.
One of the outstanding features of the seasoned right-arm pacer’s bowling is his ability to knock over batters with near-unplayable deliveries. Even as spinners have dominated the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia, Shami has held his own with some key strikes.
In this article, we look at five instances when the fast bowler sent stumps cart-wheeling.
Shami dismissed Australian opener David Warner for 1 with a peach of a delivery on Day 1 of the Nagpur Test in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The Aussies had won the toss and elected to bat first in the opening Test of the series.
The Indian pacer sent Warner back with the first ball of the third over. The Indian pacer got one to seam in from just outside off-stump, bowling from round the wicket. The ball zoomed past Warner’s outside edge as he attempted a defensive stroke. The delivery struck the left-hander’s pad before ricocheting onto the off stump, which went for a walk.
The Indian fast bowler claimed two more wickets in the second innings as the hosts thumped the Aussies by an innings and 132 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series with two days to spare.
Shami comprehensively bowled England batter Jonny Bairstow in the fourth Test of the five-match series during India’s tour of England in 2018. Bairstow was knocked over for a golden duck on Day 3 of the Test in England’s second innings.
With the first ball after lunch, the Indian pacer breached through Bairstow’s defence and knocked the batter’s leg stump out of the ground. The English batter attempted a loose drive, but the ball swung in sharply and crashed into the stumps.
The wicket put Shami on a hat-trick, as he had trapped Keaton Jennings (36) lbw with the last ball before the break.
A hat-trick was not to be, but the Indian fast bowler claimed four wickets in the second innings. His efforts went in vain,though, as the batters faltered in a chase of 245, getting bowled out for 184 in 69.4 overs.
Shami bowled a ripper to dismiss West Indies Test captain and opener Kraigg Brathwaite (2) in the first innings of the first Test in Rajkot in October 2018. India batted first after winning the toss and posted 649-9 declared as debutant Prithvi Shaw (134), Virat Kohli 139) and Ravindra Jadeja (100*) struck centuries.
West Indies needed a solid start in response, but Shami knocked over Brathwaite with a beauty. The right-hander played for one that moved away. However, the ball came back in sharply after hitting the seam, struck the pad and sent the off stump flying.
The pacer claimed two wickets in the gameas India went on to win the one-sided contest by an innings and 272 runs. (WATCH VIDEO)
While Shami has tasted most of his success in red-ball cricket, he has done reasonably well in limited-overs matches too. In fact, the seamer has an excellent one-day record, claiming 159 wickets in 87 games at an average of 25.95.
In the first ODI of the five-match series against Australia in March 2019 in Hyderabad, he cleaned up dangerous batter Glenn Maxwell. The Big Show was looking good for a big one on 40. Shami, though, got a good length delivery to nip back in off the seam and breached Maxwell’s defence.
The right-arm pacer ended with figures of 2-44 in ten overs as India restricted Australia to 236-7. Kedar Jadhav (81* off 87) then guided the Men in Blue to a six-wicket win. (WATCH VIDEO)
In the second innings of the first Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam in October 2019, Shami bowled India to a 203-run victory with figures of 5-35 in 10.5 overs. Four of his five victims were bowled, including the opposition captain Faf du Plessis.
The then South African captain shouldered arms to a delivery that came back in sharply after pitching and sent the off-stump cartwheeling. Du Plessis (13) looked on in disbelief as Shami took off celebrating. The Indian bowler also cleaned up Quinton de Kock (0) with a sharp delivery.
Set a target of 395, the Proteas were bundled out for 191 in 63.5 overs. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with 4-87.
Edited by Renin Wilben Albert
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