Sunil Gavaskar discloses how Ravi Shastri’s ‘rocket’ charged up Mohammed Shami during India’s 2018 South Africa tour

Sunil Gavaskar discloses how Ravi Shastri’s ‘rocket’ charged up Mohammed Shami during India’s 2018 South Africa tour

Shami starred in India's 2018 Johannesburg victory with a fifer in the second innings.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami of India. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar explained how Mohammed Shami underwent a transformation during India’s 2018 tour of South Africa after the then head coach Ravi Shastri injected confidence into him. Shami bowled a brilliant spell in the ongoing third Test against South Africa at the Newlands and changed the course of the game with two wickets in a single over.

He picked the important wicket of Temba Bavuma, who looked very solid, and went on to dismiss Kyle Verreynne as well. Earlier on the day, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah were among the wickets while Shami did not get the rewards despite beating the bat continuously. However, he made the breakthroughs at the most important time to bring India back into the game.

He finished with figures of 2 for 39 in his 16-over spell and looked in excellent rhythm throughout. The legendary Gavaskar recalled a similar kind of spell from Shami in the 2018 tour of South Africa that injected life into the pacer’s career.

You’ve got to just get stuck into him, says Sunil Gavaskar

Gavaskar revealed incidents from the dressing room at the Wanderers in 2018, in which he explained how Shami was intrigued by Shastri’s word. He noted that Shastri’s words of wisdom charged up Shami as the conditions were best for the latter to exploit. The seamer didn’t disappoint and turned up with an inspiring performance.

“At the Wanderers, the last time around in 2018, was when they actually got stuck into him apparently because till then he hadn’t really delivered. They said to him that on this pitch if you’re not going to take wickets then… So the word is and I am not too sure that Ravi gave him a rocket.

“And then he came out and destroyed South Africa. Sometimes you know, you need to put an arm around a player, sometimes you’ve got to just get stuck into him,” Sunil Gavaskar told on air during the ongoing Cape Town Test.

The 31-year-old seamer still has a lot of work to do as India approach setting up a fourth-innings target for the Proteas. Shami is usually excellent in the second innings, and it will be down to him to do the maximum damage if India has to win their first-ever Test series on South African soil.