India vs West Indies: Mohammed Shami's remarkable rise in ODIs

Adithya Sundar 17:12 19/12/2019
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In the second ODI between India and West Indies at Visakhapatnam, the hosts seemingly had the game in the bag by the end of the 21st over in the second innings.

Two of the big-hitters in the line up, Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmeyer had been dismissed and the required rate was a dot ball away from touching 10 runs per over.

That was when the pair of Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope went on the offensive and plundered 68 runs in the ensuing six overs. Their attack rattled the fielding team and provide a glimmer of hope  to their dressing room.

Virat Kohli had a plan though. The plan was to bowl Mohammed Shami in short bursts and bring him on to break fledgling partnerships or when the big-hitters in the opposition line-up start flexing.  Going into the game with five bowlers meant that Kohli could play his trump card when he most needed to.

Shami’s second spell didn’t start according to plan as the in-form batsmen scored 13 runs. However, in that over, Shami found the outside edge of Pooran’s bat and had Hope hurrying with his late inswing.

In his second over, Shami delivered the decisive blows. His short ball to Pooran was too quick for the southpaw and the top-edged pull found the fielder at fine-leg.

Kieron Pollard walked in and got the sort of delivery that even Test openers would struggle not offering a shot to. Bowled at a tantalizing length, the delivery drew a tame poke from the West Indies skipper and swung just a bit to kiss the edge and nestle in the gloves of Rishabh Pant.

In two deliveries, he had knocked the wind out of the Caribbean team. That is clutch!

Shami’s rise as a limited overs bowler has been remarkable in 2019. He built a reputation as  handy bowler in whites when the red ball reverses. However, he has been a revelation this year which included a prolific World Cup campaign where he managed 14 wickets in just four games, including a hat-trick against Afghanistan in a group game.

He was brought into the T20I team after two years for the final game against West Indies at Mumbai earlier this month and he was excellent in that game as well, finishing with figures of four for 25.

In Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, Shami has shown he can shoulder the responsibility of leading the bowling attack and fans would be eager to see the pair of Bumrah and Shami bowling in tandem.

The 29-year-old is currently the highest wicket-taker in ODIs for 2019 with 41 wickets. His economy is well below six and he picks up a wicket almost every four overs.

Shami will certainly be one of the first names in the squad for the T20 World Cup next year. He will be quite a handful in Australian conditions and will certainly be a major wicket-taking option for Kohli, Down Under.

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