New Delhi: Minutes after Pakistan recorded their first-ever World Cup victory against India Sunday, fast bowler Mohammad Shami was subjected to an ugly social media attack, before public figures and cricket legends voiced their support for him.
The social media trolling made it quite clear that Shami was being singled out for his Muslim identity, particularly given that almost the whole of Team India had the proverbial “off-day”.
But those who furiously came after him appeared to have forgotten that Shami has been a vital part of the formidable pace battery that India has assembled in the last decade, especially in the past five years.
In his nearly nine-year-long international career, Shami has bagged 355 wickets across formats, the majority of them in Tests. He was also India’s leading fast bowler in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, in which he bagged 17 wickets in eight matches at an average of 17.29 and an economy rate of just 4.81. India marched to the semi-finals in that tournament before losing to Australia.
Shami is a proven asset for Team India in the Test match arena. He arrived in style, picking up nine wickets including a five-for on debut against West Indies in Kolkata in 2013.
The Uttar Pradesh born pacer, who plays domestic cricket for Bengal, now has five five-wicket hauls to his name in Test cricket, with four of them coming in the second innings.
Of the 195 Test wickets to his name, 79 (40.5 per cent) are middle-order batsmen, followed by tail-enders (59, 30.3 per cent) and then the top order (57, 29.2 per cent). The numbers indicate his mastery over reverse swing, which begins later in an innings.
Away from home, Shami has picked up 133 wickets, reflecting how he has been vital to India’s improved performances overseas.
As a batsman, Shami hasn’t done much to write home about, but in August this year, he scored a crucial 56 not out against England on the final day, helping India win the Lord’s Test.
Shami’s international debut for India was in an ODI against Pakistan in Delhi in January 2013. He has played 79 ODIs so far, taking 148 wickets.
His best ODI performance came in the 2015 World Cup, where he was India’s top fast bowler, and bagged four wickets in the match against Pakistan.
In ODIs, he has been most successful against the West Indies and Australia, taking 37 and 29 wickets respectively.
Shami has only played 13 T20Is so far, taking 12 wickets.
His best bowling performance came against England in Birmingham in 2014, when he conceded 38 runs but dismissed three batsmen including Eoin Morgan.
Shami is known to be a fighter, and his ability to turn games around efficiently with the new as well as the old ball makes him a treasured member of any Indian squad.
And as for those trolling him for his name, the words of former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad perhaps sum it up best: “It is India that beats in the heart of anyone representing India”.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)