Back to form, Shami doing well

The right-arm bowler has shown no signs of trouble after undergoing a knee surgery after the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

A file photo of Mohammed Shami.   -  PTI

Fast bowler Mohammed Shami has played four matches, bowled 24.4 overs and picked up eight wickets for Bengal since his return from a nine-month injury layoff. More importantly, the right-arm bowler has looked in fine fettle and has shown no signs of trouble after undergoing a knee surgery after the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Shami featured in two Vijay Hazare Trophy matches (inter-State 50-over competition) in Rajkot and as many Syed Mushtaq Trophy (inter-state T20 competition) games in Nagpur. He is expected to feature in Bengal’s third Group ‘A’ engagement against Himachal Pradesh in Nagpur on Monday before travelling to Mumbai on Tuesday morning. The Indian team will depart for Australia after the CK Nayudu Awards ceremony on Tuesday evening.

Shami bowled at a good pace, generated ample bounce and troubled every other batsman. His run-up has been long (20-23 paces) and he has bowled with purpose. He has dismissed Uttar Pradesh’s Umang Sharma and Eklavya Dwivedi (both bowled), Madhya Pradesh’s Jalaj Saxena (caught behind), Hyderabad’s Tanmay Agarwal (caught behind), Hanuman Vihari (caught) and Mohammed Siraj (bowled), and Tamil Nadu’s Dinesh Karthik (caught) and J. Kousik (caught behind) thus far.

Saba Karim, East Zone’s representative on the senior National selection committee, in is town to watch the games. The former India stumper had a chat with Shami in full public view prior to the start of the Bengal-Tamil Nadu game at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Civil Lines on Sunday morning. Karim was standing in the open media enclosure on the second floor and Shami was doing his stretches on the boundary line. Here’s what they spoke (in Hindi) after Shami was done stretching:

Karim: How are you feeling?

Shami: I am fine.

Karim: How many 50-over games have you played?

Shami: A couple.

Karim: Are you done with rehab?

Shami: Yes. That’s why I am playing.

Karim: Are you in touch with (Team India physio) Patrick (Farhart)?

Shami: I am in touch with (NCA chief physiotherapist) Andrew (Leipus).

Karim: How many T20 games have you played?

Shami: Two. I am planning to play another one before going to Mumbai on the 5th (Tuesday).

Karim: Great! I’ll see you in Australia. (North Zone selector) Vikram (Rathour) and I are travelling for the series.

Shami: See you there!

Shami picked up 17 wickets during India’s World Cup campaign. He was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament as India took 77 of a possible 80 wickets in eight matches (six league games, quarter-final and semi-final). India would want him to reproduce that form in the five ODIs and three T20s this time around. The series kicks off with an ODI in Perth on January 12.

Comeback man

Here’s how Mohammed Shami has performed for Bengal since his return from a nine-month injury break…

Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-over competition)

20 (27b, 2x4, 1x6) & 10-0-52-2 (wd-2) vs Uttar Pradesh in Rajkot on Dec 13

6 (5b, 1x4) and 8-0-40-1 vs Madhya Pradesh in Rajkot on Dec 17

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20 competition)

2.2-0-18-3 vs Hyderabad in Nagpur on Jan 2

4-0-30-2 and 4 (3b, 1x4) vs Tamil Nadu in Nagpur on Jan 3