In IPL 2022, newbies Gujarat Titans’ pace attack has been the best in the tournament, picking 25 scalps, eleven of which have been bagged by their spearhead Mohammed Shami at an average of 20. Now, on the eve of Qualifier 1 against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens, Shami stated that his intention has been to make the most out of the new ball in power-play.
“According to me, if your ball is very good, then it’s really difficult to hit. My focus has always been, which is in sync with the team’s plan, that you make the most out of the new ball with the swing, and as everyone knows, the white ball swings for only two-four overs. If the ball is swinging, then use it to the fullest,” said Shami in the pre-match virtual press conference.
Shami also felt that having experience on his side has helped him keep his focus away from mixing up too much in the shortest format of the game. “You can say that experience as it is really important to keep yourself in control and focusing on your line and length is extremely crucial. When you are playing the T20 format, we get a lot of pointers in the mind that you are playing a short format and that we need slowers, bouncers and tend to focus a lot on the variations.”
Gujarat playing their Qualifier 1 at Eden Gardens also marks Shami’s homecoming to the venue where he plays for Bengal in domestic cricket and also made his Test debut for India in 2013.
“One does feel really happy when you come back to play at a ground where you debuted and if it’s the hometown, then much more happiness. As far as me knowing the Eden wicket is concerned, having played so many matches and gained experience from playing everywhere in the Indian grounds, one does get pumped up when the crowd at Eden cheers for you, which gives a lot of fun.”
“The feeling of playing in the home ground is a very different feeling. Also, using the wicket is as per the conditions, which is not of much use in T20 cricket. But yes, at the home ground, you tend to know certain things like the size and crowd support.”
Asked about how he would plan to get the leading run-getter of the tournament, Jos Buttler, out in power-play, Shami pointed towards him backing his skills irrespective of who the batter would be.
“Good rest, good sleep. Doesn’t matter. As a player, as a (fast) bowler, I don’t think that you should think that, who is the highest run-getter or who is batting how. Every player has weak points and areas of weakness. You should simply play on your skills, back yourself, and have the belief. I always believe in myself and I don’t see the name at all. I believe in myself and my skills.”