Shami was the most impressive of India’s pacers in the opening day of their first Test against England at Birmingham. The India man picked up a three-wicket haul as England were bowled out for 287 runs in their first innings.
Since India’s tour of South Africa earlier this year, Shami has seen himself be accused of multiple offences by his wife Hasin Jahan ranging from domestic violence to match-fixing allegations. He was subsequently dropped for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June after failing the Yo-Yo fitness test. In between, the pacer also suffered a car accident where he sustained minor injuries.
Speaking to the media after his excellent first day at Edgbaston on Wednesday, Shami expressed his delight at getting back to doing what he does best.
“(The tour of) South Africa was a long time ago and there have been some off field issues after that. I had to fight a lot in between but my effort was that I have to keep doing what I love most and what is most important to me (cricket),” said the 28-year-old.
“I wanted to just keep doing my job and then see what happens to the rest of the stuff in my life. Whatever difficulties I face, first I wanted to play cricket and keep doing it. The result is in front of us.
“As a bowling unit and as an individual I am very happy today. This is the thing I have worked hard for and we have been able to bring it forward successfully.
“There are ups and downs in life and in your family. But when playing for your country there is a responsibility and when you do that job properly, I think that’s the best thing. So I am very happy with today.”
The former international who now lives in Birmingham where the ongoing first Test between England and India is being held, believes Kohli will be the most difficult to handle for a Pakistan skipper in comparison to Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.
“Gavaskar played in a different era and I am not saying Tendulkar is a lesser player. But the very fact Kohli plays all the three formats so well makes him a more difficult player to stop. I hope he wins this Test series against England,” Mohammad told the Times of India.
Brother of the legendary Hanif Mohammad, the all-rounder went on to play 57 Tests and 10 ODIs for Pakistan before retiring in 1978. Mohammad praised India’s ability to constantly produce world-class batsmen while reminiscing about the rivalry with Pakistan’s arch-rivals and neighbours.
“We used to be such fierce competitors on the field and such good friends off it. You guys just keep producing great batsmen from Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli,” he added.
With Imran Khan all set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mohammad hoped that the former skipper could lead the country in the same way he led the cricket team.
“I just hope he leads the country the way he led the Pakistan team. Cricket will probably not be on his mind. He would have bigger issues to deal with,” he remarked.
Nepal’s ODI journey got off to a losing start after they were beaten by 55 runs by the Netherlands in the first of the two matches scheduled between the two sides.
The Paras Khadka led Nepalese team were bowled out for just 134 at Amstelveen in their chase of Netherlands’ 189.
Netherlands skipper Pieter Seelar won the toss on Wednesday and elected to bat first. However, the hosts were bowled out for 189 with Nepal skipper Khadka picking up a four-wicket haul.
Only Michael Nippon was able to muster a knock of note for the hosts with the all-rounder registering a 76-ball 51.
In reply, Nepal openers Gyananedra Malla and Anil Shah gave their side the perfect start with a 58-run stand for the first wicket. Once the latter was dismissed for 21, the floodgates opened with Seelar, Fred Klaassen and Nippon running riot for the hosts.
The three bowlers picked up three wickets each as Nepal suffered a dramatic collapse at Amstelveen. Four of the visitors’ batsmen were dismissed for a duck as the Netherlands held on to a thrilling win in front of their home fans.
This was Nepal’s first official one-day international ever since they won that status during the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe earlier this year.
Khadka’s men will now lock horns with the hosts in the second and final ODI which will be held at the same venue on Wednesday.