World Cup: Shami's death bowling handy in high-scoring WC, says Hesson

The Kings XI Punjab coach insists that Shami has been constantly working to improve himself and his seam variations will be vital for India in the tournament.


Mohammed Shami will be crucial for a bowling line-up that needs its pace wing to fire.   -  Getty Images

Donning Kings XI Punjab colours, Mohammed Shami had quite a memorable outing in the Indian Premier League – 19 wickets in 14 games.

Now with India pinning its hopes on its pace attack, KXIP coach Mike Hesson believes that if the conditions suit Shami, he could be a match-winner for the side.

“I think he is bowling quick enough, he is bowling good enough lengths where the opposition, if they want to try and take him on, have to take risks. So he’s got different methods of taking wickets,” said Hesson, a former New Zealand coach who played a key role in helping the Black Caps reach the World Cup final in 2015.

READ | Shami: Lean, mean and raring to go

During the IPL, Hesson saw Shami from close quarters for nearly a couple of months and he agrees that the India speedster is improving.

“He is getting better all the time with his ability to bowl at the death as well. There will definitely be high-scoring games. So, the ability to close down opposition (will come into play),” Hesson said.

Over the last one year, Shami has lost weight – 9kg to be specific. In an interview with Sportstar earlier, the speedster had indicated that he was working on a few things during the IPL.

While he kept it as a surprise, Hesson indicates there were a few changes that Shami brought into play.

READ | Meet Mohammed Shami, the pace machine from the UP hinterland

“To be fair, you work on lots of different things, but I think one thing is that his seam presentation is exceptional, but its very upright. But I guess there are times when having an upright seam, when conditions are very good and there are times when you just want to be able to adjust the angle of seam a little bit. Shami is able to do both,” he said.

India is considered one of the favourite to lift the World Cup trophy, but Hesson says it’s about respecting the opposition and assessing the conditions.

“There will be the odd occasions when you do have to suck it up in the openers. Just basically almost play Test match-style cricket, just three or four overs, just to get through, and I think if you are able to do that, you will be in a (better state)... Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, I think if they can latch on (to a) position when it gets tough because we know they can dominate when its flat…”

“They allow that whole Indian middle order to flourish, so that’s a job they are going to have. And they definitely got the skills to do it,” an optimistic Hesson said.

India, under the leadership of Virat Kohli, begins its World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5.

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