He made his First Class debut in 2018-19. He was Mumbai's highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy the following season.

Still, Shams Mulani, the all-rounder, has always had to deal with murmurs of primarily being a white-ball bowler. Over the last fortnight, Mulani has silenced all his critics with his sterling performance bowling left-arm spin.

Mulani has picked a whopping 22 wickets in the first two league stages, including three consecutive five-wicket hauls. As a result, he is topping the wicket-takers' chart in the Ranji Trophy. The southpaw, who is a couple of weeks shy of turning 25, hopes his performance versus Saurashtra and Goa should end the debate about spin-bowling skills in the longer format.

“I think it should because I never felt I was only a white-ball bowler. I feel that I am versatile and I can play all three formats pretty well as a bowler. That’s what I am trying to do,” Mulani told Sportstar on Monday, a day after being adjudged Player of the Match for his 11-wicket haul and a crucial 50 in Mumbai’s second essay.

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“The tags are always going to be there, critics are always going to say something, you can’t help it. You just have to do what you do... let the ball and the bat do the talking.”

It was impressive to see Mulani using the width of the crease versus Goa, sensing the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium was offering turn from outside off-stump to right-handers. “I can say it’s a sense of maturity. Being around for a while, I have started reading the conditions better. The key to pick wickets is to assess the conditions, the batters and change your plan accordingly. I am glad it’s coming off,” he said.

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Mulani stressed despite little red-ball cricket in the last two years, it’s his beginning at the Bengal Cricket Academy at Shivaji Park that meant he continued to work hard even while bowling with the red ball.

“Even when the whole focus was on limited overs (he was a Covid-replacement for Axar Patel in IPL 2021’s first half), I make it a point to carry at least one red-ball in my kit-bag all the time,” Mulani said. “That’s the basics. We started off bowling with it as kids and that’s what is going to hold us in good stead in the long-run.”