Dreams do come true. Hailing from a place where ‘there is nothing of cricket’, Mohammed Shami made his Test debut at his home away from home, took four wickets and got to rub shoulders with the man he has been in awe of since childhood. In fact, Sachin Tendulkar was the prime motivation for Shami to give his all on Test debut, said his father Tausif Ahmed. “I made him promise that he would give his 200% in honour of Tendulkar if he gets his debut. There’s no better way of saluting him than taking some important wickets,” said Ahmed, who couldn’t come to watch his son play as he was tied down by work.
Shami echoed those emotions. “First, I’m really happy to get my debut at my home ground. That I’m getting to play with Sachin is something that gives me more joy.”
Shami’s rise in domestic cricket was phenomenal but he owes it to days spent playing club cricket in Kolkata, after leaving Uttar Pradesh in search of better opportunities. “At one time he had no place to play in Uttar Pradesh. So his coach Badruddin bhai advised me to send him to Kolkata. That and the sessions with Wasim Akram during his KKR stint were the turning points in his life. Akram bhai turned him around at a time when he needed some attention. He made Shami believe in himself,” said Ahmed.
“The place I come from, nobody mentions cricket. There is nothing apart from my school. But my father was a pacer and so are my elder and younger brothers. So I would like to thank them for supporting me,” said Shami.