Thursday, July 25, 2024

When you play for the country, you forget everything, says Mohammed Shami on World Cup journey

Mohammed Shami, the leading wicket-taker of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 with 24 wickets yet again set the tone in the final against Australia with a fiery start, claiming David Warner on his very first ball. But despite this promising beginning, India couldn’t seize the moment as they got beaten by Australia in the final.

Team India’s dream run came to an end with a billion heartbreaks as Australia clinched their sixth title by securing a six-wicket victory in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Emerging as the most impressive bowler in the tournament with 24 wickets from eight games, including three impressive fifers, Shami’s journey since 2015 has been nothing short of a movie script.

Shami opened up about various facets of his difficult yet impressive cricketing journey, right from scoring a century as an opener in his first leather ball match, earning money through cricket for the first time at around 16 years of age, overcoming personal challenges bravely, creating an old-school training set-up at a farmhouse, to maiden India call-up and many more.

“Nobody knew the pain I was dealing with (during the 2015 edition),” Shami said in an interview.

“I had swelling in my knee before the 2015 tournament. Someone else could have said no but I have the ability to bear pain and I was told two options—either directly go for surgery or play the tournament and then go for the surgery. While the team would return to the hotel after every match, I would go to the hospital to take the injection. When you play for the country, you forget everything,“ shared Shami.

Shami in an interview with Puma also talked about the comeback and journey that has been a dream run for him after he underwent a knee operation.

“I was unconscious for two hours. When I woke up, I asked the doctor when I could start playing. He replied, ‘It will be a big achievement if you walk without a limp, forget playing. It all depends on how you go about your rehab,” Shami said.

Shami has not looked back since.

His comeback journey has been visibly inspirational. He not only surpassed the likes of bowling greats to become the highest wicket-taker for the country surpassing Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath in the world’s biggest cricket tournament with 55 wickets from 18 matches, but also created history earlier in the semi-finals when he registered India’s best ODI bowling figures of 7-57.

“Generally, bowlers check the pitch after arriving at the ground. I never go close to the wicket because you will know how it behaves only when you bowl on it. Then why take the pressure? It’s best to keep it simple, keep yourself relaxed and only then you will perform better,” said Shami, as he also revealed that he doesn’t follow any pre-match ritual.

–IANS

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