A visibly miffed Mohammed Shami put forward the question:
“How can people forget Jasprit Bumrah’s numerous match-winning performances just after a couple of indifferent ODI games?”
Jasprit Bumrah, Shami’s new-ball partner, went wicketless in all three matches in the ODI series against New Zealand- all matches that India lost.
Shami, who is also Bumrah’s senior partner, said
“I can understand if we are discussing on a topic (after a certain length of time) not just after 2-4 games. Just because he hasn’t performed in two games, you can’t just ignore his ability to win matches.”
Shami, who has taken an impressive 3 for 18 against New Zealand XI, did not hesitate to take a dig at critics who have forgotten that Bumrah is returning after a stress fracture on his lower back.
“What Bumrah has achieved for India, how can you even forget that or for that matter ignore it? So if you think positively, then it’s good for the player and his confidence also.”
“As a sportsman, it’s very different. From outside, it is very easy to nitpick as some have a job to comment and earn money. Every sportsman can get injured and one should try and look at the positives rather than harp on negatives. I also got injured in 2015 (knee surgery) but then bounced back.”
Shami does not understand why people’s perceptions of a player changes after a minor slump in their form.
“People tend to think very differently and when you do not do well for a few games, their viewpoint about you changes. So on our part, we shouldn’t over-think.”
Shami, who is easily the most experienced bowler on the team, talks about his role as a mentor for the younger players.
“Experience matters as you then don’t panic easily. You have faced different situations and know what to do. That is valuable. So when an experienced player is around and you bring a youngster, he matures quickly. So in our team, we guide our youngsters, joke and laugh with them, make them feel comfortable so that they don’t feel that there is a distance between seniors and juniors.”
Moving and talking about the second day of the warm-up game, Shami said that he was happy with the track that was on offer.
“It was a bit green and the wicket was damp on the first day compared to the second day. Yesterday (First Day) morning, it was challenging and we wanted to take up that challenge. Today it was drier compared to yesterday, with cloud cover, the conditions became helpful.
“There was good bounce and carry, so felt good bowling on a track. These kinds of tracks are a rarity and since we have pacers of that calibre, we reaped its benefits.”