Mohammed Shami has been at his sprawling ancestral home in Sahaspur where he has been constantly training during the lockdown period and that’s something, the India pacer believes, which gives him an advantage over his teammates who live in metros and may not have the luxury to train outdoors.
Shami’s home has a mini ground with equipped with the full facility to net practice.
Whenever BCCI starts a camp, Shami thinks he will have an advantage.
“Obviously I will have an advantage as I have been training quite regularly. This is different from an injury-induced break. I have been in good rhythm, and luckily, I don’t feel any stiffness while bowling full tilt,” he told PTI
“This is a phase when you always know that you are there and it’s a matter of time to get that rhythm back. It bolst09ers your confidence,” he added.
With ICC banning saliva to shine cricket ball to combat the spread of coronavirus, there’s been a lot of talk around how it will put bowlers at a disadvantage as they won’t be able to generate swing.
When asked about how an old red ball may behave when not applying saliva, Shami said he doesn’t know as he hasn’t tried that yet.
“If you don’t get proper conditions, you can’t try bowling with an old ball. I will tell you why…,” he explains.
“In the nets, the old ball that you use is the one that’s kept in a box for a few days, it will behave differently from a ball that’s getting old after continuous use in a match situation. Because a ball that gets old in a match situation is maintained throughout the course of the innings,” he added.
He says a proper answer can only be found in a match situation.
“The old ball that you suddenly bring out for practice will have a softer feel of the leather and that creates a difference. So, if you are looking at answers, you will only get it in a match simulation.
“So my next target during training is to start with a new ball and try to maintain it without saliva and then figure out how it behaves when it gets old. I will have to bowl with it and after maybe 20 overs when the batsman has faced it, then you get an idea how the ball behaves,” Shami said.
“People are asking me this question, but honestly, I have no answer. Because it’s a habit and a theory we have all believed and practised since our starting years. So, once we start trying, we will know better,” the 29-year-old said.
However, breaking the habit of using saliva isn’t an easy task, as Shami admits.
“Yes, its a conditioned reflex, so obviously I am forgetting at times but luckily stopping before I apply it on the ball,” he laughed. “So it’s a good thing that whenever I am training, I become very conscious and say, ‘no, I can’t use saliva’. The discipline is slowly coming.”
The forced breakdown, Shami says, has it’s positive and negative for professional cricket.
“There are two ways to look at it. The Indian team always has a packed schedule and it was a good break which allowed a tired body to heal,” Shami said.
“While on one side, you gain physically, become fitter and stronger with a lot of training but not playing the sport means that at the same time the rhythm is not there. Obviously, it’s something where you will find the difference. So there are pros and cons and its about managing your body,” he added.
Shami isn’t worried about workload saying all anyone can now think about his getting some game time having not played almost four months now.
“I prefer game time but, at the same time, one should have the knowledge as to how one’s body is reacting to various types of workload. Our team’s workload management has been great. I believe after such a long break, I don’t think that we need to think about workload and stuff. Because, right now, all I want is to be in a camp, think about my practice and start preparing for matches,” he said.
Recently, Shami revealed to Rohit Sharma during an Instagram chat how he was fighting with suicidal thoughts at one stage of his life.
“You should always talk to people around you, who care for you. You shouldn’t run away from situations. If there is a problem which you aren’t able to handle alone, please never shy away from seeking help and discuss with someone you can trust and confide in. But please talk,” he said.