Features and Interviews
Plan was to not give openers room: Shami
Ensuring line and length were on the mark was important says India pacer
India pacer Mohammed Shami’s first spell to send back Australia’s top three batsmen for 32 runs was the highlight for the hosts in the washed out fourth ODI at the JSCA International Stadium. Brought into the team for the match in Ranchi, he used the conditions to his advantage to deliver a telling blow up front, after MS Dhoni opted to field in overcast conditions.
Shami dislodged Aaron Finch’s bails in his first over, while his back-of-length delivery a little later took the edge of Phillip Hughes’ bat that was pouched by Dhoni behind the stumps. In his next over he castled Shane Watson to give India a leg up.
While reflecting on his plans later, Shami spoke about utilising the conditions and told bcci.tv that pace with swing is important for his bowling.
Excerpts from his interview:
Coming into the team with India 1-2 down in the series, what was the pressure like?
Once I go down in the field, I don’t think about the pressure. I just focus on my bowling and my work. If I take pressure when I am on the field, then my job will become difficult so I don’t think about those things. I think about what I have to do and work on that alone.
How did you prepare considering that bowlers have been hit so far in the tournament?
I just did the usual things. Kept in mind that along with the pace I have to ensure the line and length was right, and my main thing is where I get the swing, so I try doing that. The kind of help that the bowlers got from the wicket in the first hour showed how good it was to bowl out there today.
What was your plan? Can you tell us about the three wickets?
I had thought that I won’t give their openers room and our plan was to concede as few runs as possible; so that is what I was working to do. And the plan was successful.
You varied the length and even pitched the ball up. What were your plans?
The important thing today was that it was a fresh wicket and so it is a given that there would help for the bowlers from the wicket in the first hour. And there was good carry as well and there was movement; so that was good for me. So I was trying to use the conditions. With the swing and the carry it was good for me to bowl at the batsmen.
After getting three wickets up front India were unable to maintain that pressure as Australia nearly got to 300. Your thoughts?
We had benefitted from the help that we got from the wicket in the first hour. But then after the interruption due to rain, the wicket became a bit slow and low and so the wicket eased out. Once the wicket is slow and low, that does make a difference.
You were consistently bowling in high 130s and low 140s. How are you working on building and maintaining that kind of pace?
I work hard with the trainers in the gym and at the ground. So we work on maintaining ourselves.
How important is pace for you?
For me pace is important but along with that swing is also very important; so I keep working. I think pace with swing is the best thing for me.
When did you know that you will be playing today and what was the captain’s advice to you?
Captain is always calm and never says much. All the 15 players in the team have to be prepared, so everyone is. In the meeting that we have before coming we are told. Otherwise all are ready for playing.