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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, January 05, 2014
India pacer Mohammed Shami said the transition from South Africa to New Zealand shouldn’t be difficult for the team except for the ‘wind factor’. India leave on January 12 and will play their first ODI in Napier a week later.

"I don’t think adapting to the pitches of New Zealand would be much of a problem because we are still pretty fresh from our South Africa tour. The only difference would be the wind which should be a factor there," said Shami, who trained for more than two hours with the Bengal Ranji team at Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Similar conditions

"I have been to New Zealand before and the conditions there are pretty similar to South Africa. I have been preparing myself keeping in mind the conditions there," he said. Shami was part of the India A side that toured New Zealand in September 2012. He took two wickets in one unofficial ODI and three in an unofficial Test.

That tour, along with the trip to West Indies the month before, propelled Shami into the spotlight.

Shami had a reasonably good tour of South Africa but said it could have been better. "I would say I was 80% successful in South Africa. Things could have been different had the Durban track been more helpful," he said.

"I don’t think about the opposition. I just focus on my bowling. At the same time, I do have plans for a particular batsman," said Shami, adding that support from captain MS Dhoni, coach Duncan Fletcher and senior pacer Zaheer Khan had helped him grow as a bowler.

"Zaheer is one of those people from whom you can learn a lot of small but important things about pace bowling. I’m trying to pick them but I don’t think I would go to the extent of changing my action," said Shami.