India vs England: Mohammed Shami delighted to deliver on his first love
India pace bowler Mohammed Shami said he was delighted to deliver on a cricket field for his ‘first love’ after troubles on and off the field since his impressive performances on the South Africa Test tour in January.
Shami was India’s highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps in the 2-1 loss to Proteas, but was caught in a domestic dispute following accusations by his wife. He featured in few IPL games and then failed the yo-yo fitness test to miss out on the one-off Afghanistan Test.
It meant he arrived for the England Test series with doubts over his fitness and form, not having played a first-class game since the South Africa series.
However, Shami proved his sharpness on a slow Edgbaston pitch and bowled consistently well throughout to restrict England to 285/9 on the first day of the opening Test.
He bowled 19 overs, the most after R Ashwin’s 25, returning two for 64. Shami bowled with pace and also showed great control to reverse with the old ball. He took two wickets after lunch and then kept one end tight as England slumped in the final session.
Shami said although he didn’t play many games, work at the National Cricket Academy was focused on the kind of pitches he would get to play on in England and so he was ready.
“We plan according to what series we are going to play, depending on conditions and opposition we prepare and move ahead,” he said after the first day’s play,” he said after the day’s play.
“South Africa was a long time ago and there have been some off-field issues after that. I had to fight a lot in between, but my effort was that I have to keep doing what I love most and what is most important to me (cricket).
“I wanted to just keep doing my job and then see what happens to the rest of the stuff in my life. Whatever difficulties I face, I first wanted to play cricket and keep doing it, and the result is in front of us.
“As a bowling unit, and as an individual, I am very happy today. This is the thing I have worked hard for and we have been able to bring it forward successfully.
“There are ups and downs in life and in your family, but when playing for your country there is a responsibility and when you do that job properly, that’s the best thing.”