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‘If you can move my chair…’: Shami recalls horrid UP Ranji selection trials | Cricket

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‘If you can move my chair…’: Shami recalls horrid UP Ranji selection trials | Cricket


Mohammed Shami had a memorable outing in the recently-concluded 2023 World Cup. He started the tournament on the sidelines as Indian team management didn’t have Shami in the first XI; however, an injury to Hardik Pandya made way for the pacer’s inclusion. In seven matches, Shami picked an incredible 24 wickets and ended the edition as the highest wicket-taker. The campaign for Shami and Team India, however, ended in a disappointment as the side faced a six-wicket defeat in the final to Australia.

Mohammed Shami reacts after losing the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 final match against Australia by 6 wickets at Narendra Modi Stadium (ICC Twitter)
Mohammed Shami reacts after losing the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final match against Australia by 6 wickets at Narendra Modi Stadium (ICC Twitter)

Shami has been an integral part of the Indian team for many years but he saw significant struggles in his initial days in the sport. From grappling with selection challenges in Uttar Pradesh to coping with the loss of his father in 2017, Shami has weathered numerous storms en route to establishing himself as one of India’s premier pacers. He was born in Sahaspur in Uttar Pradesh (UP) but shifted to West Bengal after a harsh experience at the selection trials for the UP Ranji team.

In an interview with PUMA, Shami opened up on the hardships he faced while trying to book a Ranji spot in UP.

“I had gone to give trials for the UP Ranji Trophy team for 2 years, but whenever the final round came, they used to kick me out.” Shami said, ‘When I was not selected after the trials in the first year, I thought it doesn’t matter. Will come again next time, but next year the same thing happened again,” the 33-year-old recalled.

Shami then revealed the incident with his brother that made up his mind to leave UP and pursue his cricketing aspirations elsewhere.

“My brother used to watch all this happening. He was very sharp in this matter. When I went again the next year, the same thing happened, 1600 boys were there and the trials were going to last for 3 days. Brother said, I am not able to understand anything. A fair is going on here. Brother talked to the selection head. Brother got such an answer from him which he had never imagined in his life.

“The selector told brother that if you can move my chair, then the boy will be selected. It’s very good. Otherwise, sorry,” said Shami.

Shami, then, gave a trial for Tripura but failed to get into the team. He was, then, sent to Kolkata for a trial at a cricket club, where he was eventually selected without pay; the club took care for his food and accomodation.

“I took 45 wickets in 9 matches while playing for this club. After this the manager gave me 25 thousand rupees and a train ticket. I was not sure about this at all. I went home and gave 25 thousand rupees to my mother, but father returned this money to me. Papa said, ‘this is your earning, you should use it’. I bought shoes and accessories with this money,” revealed Shami.

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