Mohammed Shami's resurgence - a timely one

Mohammed Shami's consistent run in the ODI format makes him a front-runner for the third seamer's slot at the World Cup in May.

Mohammed Shami took nine wickets at an average of 15.33 in the ODI series against New Zealand.   -  AFP Photo

On Sunday, as India revelled in another night of an emphatic ODI series win, this time against New Zealand, Mohammed Shami with nine wickets at an average of 15.33 was adjudged player-of-the series.

He had spearheaded an Indian attack without pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah and had done a commendable job at that, virtually booking a ticket to England for the World Cup.

But it was not so long ago that his place in the squad was under question, and for reasons completely unrelated to cricket, rather personal.

In March last year, the Kolkata Police had booked Shami for domestic violence. As if that wasn't enough of trouble, his name was subsequently withheld from the official BCCI contracts list, although he was later included in Category B with a retainer of Rs. 3 crore.

Read: Rayudu, Chahal guide India to 4-1 series win

But with things falling in place at home, Shami was on the flight to England. In the five Tests he played there, Shami picked up 16 wickets including a four-wicket haul.

A regular in red-ball cricket, Shami has struggled to cement his place in the limited-overs squad. He had last played an ODI in September 2017 against Australia when he was included for the home ODI series against the West Indies, with the chairman of selectors MSK Prasad, revealing that "Mohammed Shami has been included because we are looking for a third pacer, and preferably a fourth in England (2019 World Cup)."

 

In the two games that he played against the Windies, Shami took three wickets at an expensive average of 37. In the three ODIs in Australia, with five wickets at 30.20, he was India's third highest wicket-taker.

Shami's career was in jeopardy less than a year ago; now, a string of consistent performances has strengthened his case for becoming an all-format regular, and more importantly, made him a front-runner for the third seamer's slot at the World Cup in May.