Mohammed Shami emerging as the most successful bowler in the Cricket World Cup 2023 with 24 wickets from eight games, including three impressive fifers.
Indian cricket team’s dream run at the Cricket World Cup came to a heart-breaking end as they lost to Australia by six wickets in the final on Sunday. After India had set Australia a 241-run target, India needed a fiery start. And Mohammed Shami provided them just that by claiming the wicket of David Warner on his very first ball. But despite this promising beginning, India couldn’t seize the moment. Emerging as the most successful bowler in the Cricket World Cup with 24 wickets from eight games, including three impressive fifers, Shami’s journey since 2015 has been nothing short of a movie script.
Shami spoke his heart out during a promotional event for PUMA on Tuesday. “Nobody knew the pain I was dealing with [during the 2015 edition],” Shami said.
“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 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.
Shami did not feature in the first few matches for India at the Cricket World Cup. “When you sit out for four matches, you need to be mentally strong. Sometimes you are under pressure but when you see the team performing well and going in a good direction, it gives you satisfaction,” he said.