The tournament’s standout bowler, pacer Mohammed Shami made a bold statement right from the start by dismissing David Warner with his very first ball. Despite this promising start, India couldn’t capitalise on the momentum.Finishing as the most remarkable performer in the tournament with an impressive tally of 24 wickets from seven games, including three notable five-wicket hauls, Shami’s journey since 2015 reads like a script straight out of a movie.
Shami, who’s also the PUMA brand ambassador, spoke his heart out in an extensive interview during his visit to the sports brand’s headquarter in Bengaluru.
“Nobody knew the pain I was dealing with (during the 2015 edition),” Shami confessed during a candid chat as he revealed his success mantra of not taking a close look at the wicket before the start of the match, just to keep himself relaxed.
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Shami also opened up about various facets of his difficult yet impressive cricketing journey, right from scoring a century as an opener in his first leather ball match, earning money through cricket for the first time at around 16 years of age, overcoming personal challenges bravely, creating an old-school training set-up at farmhouse, to maiden India call-up and many more.
“I had swelling in my knee before the 2015 tournament. Someone else could have said no but I have the ability to bear pain and I was told two options—either directly go for surgery or play the tournament and then go for the surgery. While the team would return to the hotel after every match, I would go to the hospital to take the injection. When you play for the country, you forget everything,” Shami shared in the interview.
Shami underwent a knee operation. “I was unconscious for two hours. When I woke up, I asked the doctor when I could start playing. He replied, ‘It will be a big achievement if you walk without a limp, forget playing. It all depends on how you go about your rehab,” Shami said.
Shami has not looked back since. His comeback journey has been visibly inspirational. He not only surpassed the likes of bowling greats to become the highest wicket-taker for the country in the world’s biggest cricket tournament with 55 wickets from 18 matches, but also created history earlier in the semi-finals when he registered India’s best ODI bowling figures of 7-57.
The 33-year-old shared his secret that helps him perform better. “Generally, bowlers check the pitch after arriving at the ground. I never go close to the wicket because you will know how it behaves only when you bowl on it. Then why take the pressure? It’s best to keep it simple, keep yourself relaxed and only then you will perform better,” said Shami, as he also revealed that he doesn’t follow any pre-match ritual.
“Better hai aap subah utho, mast fresh hojao, chaay peeyo, gaane suno (it’s better you wake up, get fresh, have tea and listen to songs), ” he added.