Mohammed Shami has had a rough time this year, with injury and off-field personal issues. He failed a yo-yo test before India's clash against Afghanistan and there were questions over his fitness and frame of mind ahead of the England series.
Shami, though, dispelled any such doubts with his performance on the opening day of the first Test at Edgbaston.
"South Africa was a long time ago and there have been some off-field issues after that," he said here on Wednesday. "I had to fight a lot in between but my effort was that I have to keep doing what I love most and what is most important to me (cricket). I wanted to just keep doing my job and then see what happens to the rest of the stuff in my life. Whatever difficulties I face, first I wanted to play cricket and keep doing it, and the result is in front of us."
The fast bowler added,"There are ups and downs in life and in your family, but when playing for your country there is a responsibility and when you do that job properly, I think that’s the best thing. So I am very happy with today."
Shami felt that the pitch had not greatly favoured the bowlers. "The wicket is a little slower. You need to work hard to maintain good line and length all day. It was a little tough initially because it was slow and a little damp. As the day went on, the wicket came good. As a bowling unit we have stopped them well from 216-3, you can see what we have done."
Shami hailed Ashwin's performance, denying that the team had missed a second spinner. "He bowled very well today. On English wickets you see that fast bowlers bowl well, but a spinner has come in and done so well. He built partnerships with the fast bowlers and it helps take our confidence up as well. We didn’t miss the second spinner because we paired up so well. We had experience on our side and you can see that even if we are not able to take wickets, we are able to stop runs," he signed off.