Shami turns the screw on West Indies

Virat Kohli has spoken about his admiration for Mohammed Shami's bowling abilities a couple of times already.
Shami turns the screw on West Indies
Representational Pic

Virat Kohli has spoken about his admiration for Mohammed Shami's bowling abilities a couple of times already. The Indian captain sees Shami as the perfect bowler in Tests, one who can stick to plans and prise out wickets when needed. From the way the ball is release to where it is pitched and to what it does after, Shami's bowling displays, so it seems, have left Kohli in awe.

"He is a gun bowler, the areas he hits is what you need in Test cricket the attacking lengths and he has the ability to get batsmen out at any stage of the game which is very pleasing in test cricket and important for a captain. So, Shami being back in the side obviously gives us a lot of options. The guy can bowl with the new and old ball, reverse swing, he can come round the wicket, use bouncers and use his space well. I think as a fast bowler he is a complete package," Kohli had said of Shami.

On Saturday (July 23), the pacer gave his captain more reasons to be proud of his 'gun' bowler. Shami removed three West Indies batsmen in addition to the one he had already dismissed last evening.

Rajendra Chandrika and Kraigg Brathwaite were dogged during their opening stand, playing cautiously and trying to ensure they gave India no reasons for cheer late in the day. After Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav failed to make an impact, Kohli turned to Shami. And in three overs, the pacer had got Chandrika to edge behind.

The next morning, Shami was not as successful even though he did most things right. Nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo survived quite a few close calls, but was eventually dismissed by Amit Mishra.

When the next partnership between Kraigg and Darren Bravo was starting to flourish, Kohli turned to Shami again. And yet again, Shami delivered. Heimmediatelyswitched to around the wicket when Bravo came on strike. It was the third ball of his new spell, and Shami had Bravo walking back to the pavilion.

Soon after the Lunch break, Shami was into his element. He had Marlon Samuels out cheaply. It was his 50th Test wicket, and he became the joint-fastest Indian pacer (24 Innings) to get there. Shami celebrated that achievement with another superb delivery, getting Jermaine Blackwood out for a duck. It was his fourth wicket of the innings, and the hosts were in complete disarray.

On the kind of pitch where bowlers have really struggled, Shami was prospering. No wonder Kohli is all praise for him. As he demonstrated today, Shami understands how to alter his plans according to the pitch. He plugged away outside the off-stump and reaped rewards. He hit the nagging length consistently and made it hard for batsmen to score. And when the pitch did offer some help, he ensured it was in the kind of area to trouble the batsmen.
Shami's abilities to do just this was also noted by the Indian captain.
"Shami is obviously a really skillful guy, we all know that. He has a lot of ability with the ball, the way he bowls, the way the ball is released, where he pitches the ball – it is more or less perfect for Test cricket. The lines and the lengths he bowls are always attacking, no matter what the wicket is. And the best thing about him is that if it is seaming and it is swinging, he will bowl you the conventional lines and lengths but if it is reverse-swinging, he knows exactly where to bring in the ball from. He has a great sense and a feel of how to get batsmen out," Kohli had said in Bengaluru before the team's departure.
Umesh Yadav, who picked up four wickets on Day 3, speaking about Shami at the post-day press conference, waxed lyrical about his pace partner. He said there was no need for him to "light a lamp in the dark" as far as Shami is concerned.
"He is a natural bowler. He is a smart bowler and he has inswing, outswing, a good bouncer. He is a complete bowler and I don't think there is a need to even compliment him. He is a very talented bowler," Umesh said.
Much of the showers of praise for Shami have come from even before he bowled his first ball in Antigua. Now with the kind of performance he put in on Saturday, it is only bound to increase.
The Indian team is excited, and understandably, about having a fit Shami back in the side, and he's starting to show why.

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