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Shami’s ex-coach credits Akram as Kohli reveals ‘why he’s difficult to face’ | Cricket

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Shami’s ex-coach credits Akram as Kohli reveals ‘why he’s difficult to face’ | Cricket

Move over Rohit Sharma’s rampaging starts in powerplays and Virat Kohli’s chase for a record 49th ODI century, as India have a new World Cup superstar. Mohammed Shami was never part of India’s first-choice playing XI for the 2023 World Cup. Despite his record and form, he was the third seamer behind Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj with India looking at two spinners, all-rounder in Hardik Pandya and Shardik Thakur to bring balance to the line-up both in terms of bowling and batting. However, an unfortunate injury to Hardik Pandya left Shami with a vital opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands, picking 14 wickets in three games which included two fi-fers, while shutting the talk around the need for a sixth-bowling option. (India vs South Africa Live Score, Cricket World Cup 2023)

Wasim Akram has been credited for Mohammed Shami's rise on his career
Wasim Akram has been credited for Mohammed Shami’s rise on his career

On Sunday, India take on South Africa in a clash of the table toppers in Kolkata. And ahead of the big game at the Eden Gardens, Kohli met his Shreevats Goswami, his U-19 teammate and one of their many discussions was about Shami, who was also the latter’s former Ranji teammate. Goswami, in an interview with Indian Express, later revealed that Kohli’s explanation on why Shami is so difficult to pick, even more than Jasprit Bumrah.

“Virat explained to me why Shami is so difficult to face. He said ‘Shami makes a subtle change with his fingers. It is easy to read Jasprit (Bumrah) but with Shami, you don’t know which ball is coming in and which is going away,” Goswami said.

“Virat is true also. Shami is a menace to face in the nets. I remember after his first India call-up. He was training with us in an indoor facility at Eden. Dada (Sourav Ganguly) was also present there and Shami was strictly told by the coaches not to bowl bouncers. But Shami bhai will end up bowling a couple after every six or seven balls. I remember Dada was so excited that he later gave Shami the green light to bowl three bouncers in six balls,” he added.

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While for Kohli, the return to Eden Gardens brings back happy memories as it was the venue where he had scored the first of his 48 ODI centuries 14 years back, it is also a sort of homecoming for Shami, who spent the better years of his career in Kolkata. He had moved to the city back in 2006 and played for Dalhousie Athletic Club and then Town Club before moving to Mohun Bagan. However, according to Monayem, who was the coach at Mohun Bagan, it was the 2013 season with IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders that turned out to be the gamechanger for Shami with the India star getting to work with the legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram.

“Wasim Akram has worked a lot with him. He had a very good wrist position but Wasim bhai worked on his release. He was not getting much game time for KKR, but he was always around Wasim. It was Wasim Akram, who made him the bowler he is, and of course, he has worked hard too,” he said.

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