Bowling seems so natural when Mohammed Shami charges in to bowl. It is a mixture of rural fitness and aesthetical bowling techniques.
The seamer from Bengal team stepped in Indian cricket when we all started missing Zaheer Khan.
Shami didn’t take much time to attain fame. Right from his debut, he started to pull the limelight towards him with his remarkable abilities.
Everything went well for the seamer until the knee injury forced a full stop into his career. Despite experiencing a career-threatening injury, Shami’s hunger for bowling converted the full stop into a comma.
Added to that, Shami made sure the second innings post-injury is an adventurous journey. The fast bowler came up with the improvised version of seam bowling along with other elements to fulfil the demand of the game.
Eventually, he has got himself into a position where experts and fans are making analyses on his bowling.
The rise of Indian team fast bowling has been astonishing in recent times, and Shami plays a huge part in it.
On seeing Shami’s recent performances, some specific questions would arise for us:
- Is Mohammed Shami India’s most improved fast bowler?
- What makes Mohammed Shami so dangerous fast bowler?
- Has he got all the prerequisites to be on top?
All these questions come down to the factors we are going to discuss over him.
Mohammed Shami’s run-up is what leaps out in our mind when one thinks of his bowling.
A very clean run up with lots of intensity.
You can see the energy getting generated when he charges in. The Bengali fast bowler manages to produce the momentum from his athletic run-up. In fact, it is nearly a sprint with balanced body alignment.
In the beginning, it was a long run-up that was then forced to get reduced by his knee injury in 2016.
However, his shortened run-up has become the key to accuracy.
Here’s what the legends have to say on Shami’s run-up
These are some rare appraisals for a pace bowler to get appreciated for a run-up, which most of the others in the business rarely get.
2. UPRIGHT SEAM POSITION
“Shami has always had the speed. It’s not fair to compare, but if you look at bowlers all around, Shami’s got probably the best seam position,” says Bharat Arun, the Bowling coach of India.
This department has a lot to speak in. Seam presentation and release set Shami apart from other bowlers.
When Shami releases the ball, it comes from the twelve O’ clock position which creates an uprighteousness in the seam till the landing.
This upright seam presentation helps the ball move from the moment it gets released from the hand.
More than anything, the sharp movement (inwards or outwards) produced right after the seam landing is something that sets the life of a batsman at risk.
Shami intentionally uses his wrist and fingers in a most effective way to produce the sharp movement.
Especially the one that nips back to stumps is the toughest thing to deal for batsmen.
Here’s what Sunil Gavaskar has to say about Shami’s seam movement:
3. REVERSE SWING
Predominantly, Shami is the best reverse swing bowler at this moment in cricket.
Reverse swing is an art which most of the subcontinent fast bowlers lack.
He learned this particular skill to withstand the demand of Test cricket.
Becoming an exponent in the reverse swing is all about his consistent practice.
For a batsman, it is a headache to handle the ball that is getting reverse at speed above 140 kmph.
Mohammed Shami on his reverse swing,
4. WICKET TAKING ABILITY
On a certain point, Shami became the go-to bowler for Virat Kohli when India needed wickets.
Shami’s middle over spells in ODIs became so effective because of the speed, surprising bounces and the seam movements in his bowling.
Also, Shami turned out to be an obstacle in the middle for the settled batsmen, and it tends to stop their flow.
In Tests, if you have a close look, he may not have more wickets in an innings, but he will be the one to grab the wickets of the crucial middle-order batters.
Listen to what a former fast bowler of West Indies has to say on Shami’s wicket-taking ability.
The Bengal fast bowler became the third quickest Indian fast bowler to pick 150 wickets in Tests – a testimony of his wicket-taking ability.
In blue jersey, Shami has grabbed 17 wickets in 7 matches he played in CWC 2015, which is followed by 14 wickets in the 4 matches in CWC 2019.
A remarkable contribution in bigger events!
5. HITTING THE STUMPS
The Length he uses for executing the seam movement has been the reason to hit the stumps more often. It is the most effective way of bowling for a quickie at any kind of pitch.
More than outswingers, this Indian pacer loves to get the ball nip back to the stumps. Stump to stump bowling has been an unavoidable essence of Shami’s deliveries.
Most often, the batsmen get confused about whether to leave or defend Shami’s deliveries that pitch on the fourth stump line and finally, they end up getting bowled through the bat and pad gap.
Shami’s insane delivery that grabbed the wicket of Shai Hope in the CWC 2019 match against West Indies is the best example of his tremendous ability to hit the stumps.
Shami’s bouncers are unusual with the speed the ball gets after pitching, like a hard plastic ball.
Besides that, the length at which he bowls the bouncers gives no room for batsmen to chance their arms, thereby making it more challenging to tackle.
The bouncer he bowled to dismiss Younis Khan in the CWC 2015 match against Pakistan is something you rarely see from other Indian fast bowlers. It completely bemused the Pakistani batsman as he never saw that coming
Later during his post-injury period, Shami’s ‘hitting the helmet’ deliveries became even more deadly with his improved speed and accuracy.
Shami’s heroic bouncers in the pink ball test against Bangladesh in 2019 showcased how deadly Shami is with his bouncers.
How many times have you seen batsmen getting hurt by bouncers in Indian wickets?
A dream come right moment for Sourav Ganguly in his own home ground, who wanted this aggressiveness from the pace bowlers during his captaincy period.
Bowling yorkers is a skill Shami learned to bowl. It’s the demand from the evolving game across formats. This skill of bowling his own kind of toe crushers has improved his death bowling.
Particularly when the searing toe crusher gets the reverse swing, he becomes the most dangerous customer for any batsman.
The hat trick against Afghanistan in CWC 2019 is the best witness to his yorkering technique.
Mohammed Shami is currently in the state where his body can do whatever he wants to do in the field.
Fitness is also one of the reasons he is consistently successful across all three formats, especially helping him bowl long spells in Tests.
Overall, Shami is designed to be someone who runs in for wickets every time he bowls. It’s deeply registered in his subconscious mind.
All credits to his attitude that converts all the odds into positives.
Of course, Virat Kohli must be praised for his part in Shami’s growth. It is true that his aggressive captaincy added more fuel to Shami.
On the whole, Mohammed Shami is a complete package of a fast bowler and a rare gem who has got a lot to offer across all three formats for Team India.