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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: It will be fun to bowl with Bumrah in English conditions - Mohammed Shami

The Bengal pacer has been sensational in ODIs after making a comeback last year, post a year-long layoff, and he will be a vital part of India’s pace battery at the World Cup in England.

cricket Updated: May 01, 2019 09:29 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Cricket World Cup 2019,ICC Cricket World Cup,Indian World Cup squad
File image of Shami, Kohli(Getty Images)

Ask Virat Kohli who the toughest bowler he has faced at the nets is, and the answer is always Mohammed Shami.

The Bengal pacer has been sensational in ODIs after making a comeback last year, post a year-long layoff, and he will be a vital part of India’s pace battery at the World Cup in England.

Part of the Kings XI Punjab team this season, a resurgent Shami talks about the evolution of his bowling partnership with Jasprit Bumrah, India’s World Cup bowling attack, on the work he put in to get fitter, and how captain Virat Kohli’s attitude and aggression inspires him to do well.

Excerpts

How has it been leading the bowling attack for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing IPL ? How difficult will it be for you to make a shift to the ODI format and the English conditions during the World Cup ?

I have thoroughly enjoyed bowling in this IPL. Like always, I have kept it simple and bowled stump to stump. Bowling in the shorter format is always more challenging as you have to contain the flow of runs in four overs, and a wicket or two is a bonus. I think shifting from the shorter format to Test cricket is a bit tricky but there won’t be much of a problem shifting to ODI cricket during the World Cup.

However, getting used to English conditions will be very important. The warm-up matches should help in understanding the conditions. Also, mental preparation will play a crucial part but we have an advantage as India has played in England in both the last two years.

ALSO READ: Vijay Shankar’s bowling will be handy in English conditions: Ganguly

India will have only three genuine pacers including you during the World Cup. Do you think three pacers will be enough in seamer friendly conditions in England ?

Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and I have had good success in the past and India has done well with this combination. If required, Hardik Pandya can always pitch in, and so can Vijay Shankar. Moreover, we have impactful spinners like Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jhadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. They will definitely play a big role in the middle overs. We have some good all-rounders in the team. The pacers will have to do their job to perfection at the start and in the death overs.

How fit are you ahead of the World Cup? Considering the hectic schedule of the IPL.

I struggled with injuries in the last (2015) World Cup. It took a lot time for me to regain fitness and make a comeback. I am very serious about my fitness and shedding weight has definitely helped my performance. Also, I know the repercussions of bowling with an injury. I have been keeping in touch with the BCCI trainers in the last couple of months in order to maintain my fitness. I knew the upcoming World Cup will be very important so, I was extra cautious about my fitness. I am in the best shape of my life and in good rhythm. IPL will help cricketers find their form and prepare well for the World Cup.

What is the secret behind the bowling partnership between you and Bumrah?

It has been great bowling alongside Bumrah. We had good outings in Australia. When the other bowler is bowling fiercely and getting wickets then you can also bowl aggressively and go for wickets. Bowling with him gives me an edge as he has been the most improved Indian bowler in the last one year and made a mark. Also the fact that we understand each other’s bowling abilities well helps in bringing out the best in performance. Off the field too, we we are friends. We talk a lot about cricket off the field. That rapport helps on the field. I am really excited to be bowling in England alongside Bumrah. The conditions in England will be like India’s winters, so it will be fun bowling in those conditions.

ALSO READ: Complete coverage of ICC Cricket World Cup

India captain Virat Kohli is known for his aggressive attitude on the field. How is it working with him?

He has set very high standards for cricketers all over the world with his batting skills, his fitness and his mental strength. In cricket you have to be competitive. He is someone who expresses himself on the field. As a captain he will always back you and give you that freedom to do your own thing. I also show aggression when it is required. It is part of the sport.

First Published: May 01, 2019 09:25 IST