Easwaran: 'Mohammed Shami is fitter now'

R.P. Easwaran, who helped the troubled Indian pacer regain rhythm at his academy in Dehradun recently, believes Shami will stage a comeback in the IPL.

Mohammed Shami was retained by Delhi Daredevils for Rs. 3 crore.   -  Sportzpics/IPL

India pacer Mohammed Shami — who was trapped in serious allegations of domestic violence, infidelity and match-fixing by estranged wife Hasin Jahan — joined the Delhi Daredevils camp on Monday.

The 28-year-old looked impressive at the nets; even skipper Gautam Gambhir thought he bowled a good line.

Though the pacer has earned clean chit from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), following a probe, the swim through rough waters has left him scarred.

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Shami needed to train in isolation. He climbed uphill, to Abhimanyu Cricket Academy (ACA) — owned by R.P. Easwaran, father of Bengal cricketer Abhimanyu Easwaran — in Dehradun. "Shami was here for three days, before joining his Indian Premier League (IPL) team," Easwaran told Sportstar on Tuesday.

"He used the gym and bowled to my boys. Nobody went inside as we didn’t want disturbance. He asked two or three of our batsmen to bat and he used both the ends. He was trying to get back his rhythm," he added.

"The location of the academy, surrounded by mountains and water bodies, also offers peace," Easwaran noted.

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Until last week, there was no clarity on Shami’s future as an international cricketer — let alone the IPL — but the renewal of BCCI contract has revived his hunger. “He should come back. The way he was bowling here, I felt he lost weight. My wife, who watched him play in the Deodhar Trophy, said he looked thinner than Abhimanyu, my son.  But it’s fine as he looks fitter now. He was also mentally pulled down. I spent a few hours talking to him while he was here,” he added.

Easwaran also shielded him from the media glare during his time in the hill town. "I didn’t want people to come and discuss the same story with him. But I feel once the BCCI approved him, he got over the turmoil. He looked mentally fitter."

Despite being a star international bowler, Shami never had a happening IPL. So far, the right-arm pacer has conceded 934 runs in 625 balls with only 18 wickets in 39 games. However, this season may just belong to the wounded tiger.

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