Ravi Shastri would have hated facing Mohammed Shami

Shami rattled the South African batting with a fifer in the second innings of the Vizag Test.

Ravi Shastri, Head Coach of India
Ravi Shastri, Head Coach of India. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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That Mohammed Shami is at the height of his powers as a bowler is not a statement many people will refute. The Bengal fast bowler has been a revelation in the past 18-20 months- not for his talent or wicket-taking ability (those were always there) but it is his temperament, consistency and most-importantly fitness that has stood out.

No longer he is referred to as ‘mercurial Shami’ or ‘temperamental Shami’ In fact, he now revels in his ‘second-innings Shami’ moniker. Since 2018, Shami has accumulated 23 wickets in 16 innings in the first innings at an average of 37.56. But, it is the second innings where the real Shami has turned up. His average in the second innings during the same time frame drops to 17.70. He has taken 40 second-innings wickets since 2018, five of which came in the recently concluded Test in Vizag.

Shastri hails Shami’s ability to bounce back

Making good use of his accuracy and relentless targeting of the off-stump, Shami bamboozled the South Africans with pace and reverse-swing. Hailing Shami’s ability to bounce back from the off-field issues, head Coach Ravi Shastri describes the fast bowler a rare combo of being ‘relentless’ and ‘very skillful’ at the same time, while also admitting that he would have hated to face a bowler like him during his playing days.

“To bounce back from personal issues and bowl the way he did was remarkable. He is relentless, very skillful and at you all the time. I would have hated to face him. He is at you all the time, he is very skillful and in conditions like yesterday few bowlers in the world are better than him,” Ravi Shastri was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Kohli heaps praise on Shami

Indian captain Virat Kohli too hailed Mohammad Shami, referring to him as their consistent strike-bowler in the 2nd innings. Shami has been the strike bowler for us in the 2nd innings consistently now. If you see all his 4, 5-wicket hauls, it comes in the 2nd innings where the team invariably needs it. He reverses it well. That’s his strength,” Kohli said.

The second Test between India and South Africa starts on October 10 in Pune, giving Shami another opportunity to enhance his reputation and add another tail to his ‘second-innings Shami moniker’.

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