Manchester: India pacer Mohammed Shami has said only he deserves all the credit for his remarkable turnaround as it was ‘me and only me’ who suffered for 18 months.
“Credit? Who else but me? I give full credit to myself,” said Shami after India’s 125-run victory over West Indies in the World Cup here Thursday. The scribes in the mixed zone were taken aback by his directness.
Shami has been to hell and back in the last one-and-half-years, fighting accusations of domestic violence. As a result, he was dropped from the BCCI’s central contract list pending inquiry, and also sat out a Test match on fitness ground. But he is now back to his best, asking probing questions to the best in the business with his pace and swing.
“Because I had to endure all that I was made to go through. What I went through in the past 18 months, it’s me and only me who had to suffer. So credit goes to me,” Shami said without getting into the details about the nightmare that he had endured.
“Yes, I thank the Almighty for giving me the strength to fight everything – from family issues to fitness. I am now only focussed on doing well for India,” said the pacer, who has now taken eight wickets in two games, including a hat-trick.
After two mind-blowing performances against Afghanistan and West Indies, Shami said that working on his fitness has been the turning point. He has shed those extra kilos, and more importantly, it has put him in a good head space.
“It wasn’t only about failing YoYo test. There are times when your rhythm goes for a toss. I failed that’s a separate thing but then I have worked hard and improved my fitness. I feel I am in a good zone now as I have lost weight, got rhythm and everything is working for me,” the pacer informed.
“I now try to maintain my diet, training regime consistently. Because I am feeling stronger, not getting tired easily, my speed has also increased. And as far as skill is concerned, I always knew I can perform well on any track,” added Shami.
Many thought without the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Men in Blue would have trouble getting rid of Chris Gayle. But Shami put all doubts to rest with a fiery opening spell during which he dismissed Gayle and Shai Hope.
“Since we played IPL together (for Kings XI Punjab), I have a bit of an idea about him. I knew that if I restrict him, he will get bored and try to hit out and that’s exactly what happened,” Shami said while disclosing the plans he had for Gayle.
How did he feel when he did not get the chance in the first four games? “Look, 15 people have come to represent the country. You must have had something special that you are in that 15, isn’t it? It’s about remaining patient and positive. And, yes, have a clever mind too,” signed off the pace bowler.