God didn’t send me with the art: Mohammed Shami reveals how he mastered reverse swing
Mohammed Shami is not your quintessential fast bowler who relishes a green top and makes the new ball talk all the time. He instead, likes the old scuffed-up ball more, prefers the third or fourth-day track and picks up wickets in bunches that often change the course of a Test match. One of the most potent ones in India’s current famed fast bowling line-up comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav, Shami’s main weapon is accuracy and speed.
“I try to ensure that my pace doesn’t fall below the 140kph mark. But my focus is on the seam and swing. I have always tried to make sure that these two things remain perfect. I can bring pace with my physical strength and you can always work on it by doing strength training. But I have always given priority to swing and seam and never for a minute let them take a backseat,” Shami told IANS.
Apart from accuracy and pace, Shami’s arsenal is incomplete without reverse swing. He uses it not only in sub-continent conditions but also in Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand to good effect. So what made him such a master of the art? Did Shami have it from the word go? Or did it take time to master the art? The pacer says that it is something that has come to him with time and after a lot of training.
“As you keep playing, you learn a lot of things. It is all about following one process after the other. So, when you have learnt one trick and mastered it, you then move to the next one and work on that. In the beginning, I didn’t have much idea about reverse swing.
“But slowly I came to understand what the process of reverse swing is all about and how it can be an integral part of a pace bowler’s armoury. Then I started working on it because you are not born with it. It wasn’t like God sent me with the art. I had to work hard and to be honest, you have to work hard for everything that you wish to achieve in life,” he explained.
Cricket pundits had started saying that Shami had become a red-ball specialist till he showed the world he can be a force to reckon with even in white-ball cricket. Now that he plays all the three formats, how different is the preparation going into a format? Shami says it is all in the mind.
“Mindset obviously does change as per the format. In terms of skills also you do need to change and adapt as per the format because what will work for you in Tests might not work for you in the shorter formats of the game. It is all about the mindset and how you adapt to the situation,” he said.
(With IANS inputs)