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ICC Champions Trophy: Worked on strength, even lost weight – Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami, who is back in the ODI team after a gap of two years for the ICC Champions Trophy, said he has prepared well to give his best for the defending champions in the marquee event starting on June 1

cricket Updated: May 08, 2017 20:46 IST
HT Correspondent
Mohammed Shami has made a return to the Indian ODI team for the Champions Trophy after a gap of two years.
Mohammed Shami has made a return to the Indian ODI team for the Champions Trophy after a gap of two years.(Getty Images,)

Two years out of the ODI side is a long time and for Mohammed Shami, it wasn’t just long, it was agonising too. The pace sensation, who was sidelined due to a knee injury right after the World Cup semifinal loss in 2015, also had to cope with a personal tragedy – his father’s demise.

Although he has played 10 Tests since returning from injury last year, bowling in the ODIs during Champions Trophy, for which he was picked on Monday, will require a different set of skills.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Indian selectors opt for continuity, experience

Besides Shami, India have Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as pace options.

“Two years is a long time for any player. After recovering from injury, I have focused on increasing strength and improving fitness. I have lost weight too. I have tried to iron out flaws. Hopefully, I will be able to give my 100% in Champions Trophy. My aim would be to start from where I left,” Shami said after the Indian team for ICC Champions Trophy was announced.

In the 2015 World Cup, Shami was one of India’s top wicket-takers with 17 scalps.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Full team list of the top-eight nations

He returned to international cricket in July 2016 and played Tests against West Indies, New Zealand and England (three games). But he was rested for the New Zealand and England ODIs and the Australia Test series that followed them.

He made a comeback in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final in March. Shami is currently playing in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils. “This is a very good opportunity for me to get back to match fitness. These eight to 10 matches that I am playing in IPL, before going to England, will help me get into the groove,” Shami said.

Zaheer’s help

The pacer added he has been talking to Zaheer Khan. “During the rehabilitation period, I spoke to ex-players whenever I got the opportunity. I am lucky to have Zaheer bhai in the Daredevils set-up. He is experienced and working with him in the nets always throws up something positive. I get to learn a lot,” he said.

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Shami knows India’s pace line-up has players who are all in form and have been playing at the top level consistently.

“We have one of the best pace line-ups in the world. We need to help each other and guide each other. We have the team to defend the Champions Trophy title,” Shami said.