As the cricket fraternity lauded Mohammed Shami’s terrific return to World Cup action on Sunday, it remains uncertain the fast bowler will be a sure-shot starter in India’s next game against England on September 29. That will eventually come down to Hardik Pandya’s recovery from his ankle injury that kept the all-rounder out of action in Dharamsala against New Zealand.
Shami, who was benched for the first four matches of the World Cup 2023, was brought into the playing XI against New Zealand after Hardik Pandya suffered an ankle injury in the match against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19. Eventually, Shardul Thakur, who hasn’t had a great outing in the mega tournament so far with a mere two wickets in three matches under his belt, had to be left out to make way for Shami, who was right on the money for India.
Shami, it seems, was ready for the call as he shone with his best World Cup figures of 5 for 54.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra was thrilled with Mohammed Shami’s performance as he called India to retain the veteran pacer in the XI in the upcoming matches.
“Have been saying since Day 1 that Shami should be in playing XI. An unwanted scenario was created where Hardik Pandya got injured and Mohammed Shami had to be brought in. It was Shami’s first match of the tournament and he picked up five wickets,” Aakash Chopra told JioCinema.
“Mohammed Shami did what he did with Australia in Mohali on a bata wicket. Shami’s Mohali and Dharamsala numbers are quite similar. His accuracy is amazing. Wrist position is good,” he added.
Mohammed Shami had produced a similar performance against Australia in the 1st ODI in Mohali on September 22. The ace pacer claimed a five-wicket haul and halted Australia’s good start by bundling them out for 276, similar to what he did against New Zealand.
Aakash Chopra highlighted the impact Shami had at the death as India pacers were on top, making sure New Zealand did not run away with a big total. New Zealand were able to add only 54 runs in the last 10 overs as the trio of Indian pacers kept the pressure on the opposition.
SHAMI’S IMPACT AT THE DEATH
“Shami’s fifer is the key reason why India, who were on the verge of getting 300 plus. Shami’s effort is praise-worthy,” he said.
The star India pacer made his World Cup 2023 entry in style with a first-ball wicket, leaving the fans wondering where was he all this time. Shami bowled Will Young out at 17 in the 9th over of the first innings. New Zealand bossed the middle overs with a 159-run stand between centurion Daryl Mitchell (130) and Rachin Ravindra (75) that was eventually broken by Shami who scalped Ravindra’s wicket in the 34th over.
Shami helped India take 6 wickets for 54 in the last 10 overs, which took New Zealand from 178/3 to 273-all out.
Mohammed Shami went on to become the only Indian bowler with two five-wicket hauls in the World Cup. The first five-wicket haul came against England in the 2019 edition of the Cricket World Cup.
Mohammed Shami had an impressive run in 2023 with 25 wickets under his belt but didn’t get to play the first four games in the World Cup 2023. However, Shami has put his hand up and told the team management that he is ready to take responsibility as the team gears up for bigger battles in the coming days.