India v West Indies, 1st Test, Kolkata, 1st day November 6, 2013

Shami's reverse-swing a honed art - coach

ESPNcricinfo staff

India fastbowler Mohammed Shami picked up four wickets on his Test debut at Eden Gardens, but the fact that he bowled three of his victims with sharp reverse-swing did not surprise his childhood coach. Badruddin Siddique said Shami had been developing and honing the art from the time he played Under-16 age-group cricket.

"Shami had the ability to get reverse swing since he was 16 years old," Siddique told PTI. "He has practiced a lot to perfect the reverse delivery that comes into the right hander. He has done that a number of times in Ranji Trophy also.

"During junior-level tournaments in and around Moradabad, Shami would always request organisers to give him the old red balls used in the tournament. I would then watch him regularly polish one side and keep the shine of those semi-new balls. If he didn't get anyone, then he would get hold of little boys to stand on one side of the wall and just try to get reverse with high-arm action."

Shami used that skill to wreck West Indies on the opening day of the Test series. After the umpires changed the ball in the 40th over, Shami got the replacement to reverse-swing sharply into the right-handers. He bowled Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin in successive overs, hurrying the batsmen with skiddy pace, and ended the innings by breaching Sheldon Cottrell's defence to dismiss West Indies for 234.

"Eden Gardens is a ground that Shami knows like the back of his hand," Siddique said. "You need to know what length to hit on a particular strip and when it's Eden, Shami knows it better than a lot of others."

Having made his ODI debut in January this year, Shami was impressive in the three matches he played in the recently concluded one-dayers against Australia, taking seven wickets. Badruddin said he was confident that Shami would succeed in international cricket, and in the Test area in particular.

"Look at his first-class record. He has got almost four wickets per match (71 first-class wickets in 18 games). He works up international standard pace and with that he can swing the ball both ways. He has a good bouncer and you will see him bowling the delivery that reverses away in near future. The only thing he needs to develop is a potent slower delivery. Some people get better at the higher level and it holds true in case of Shami."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 9, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    shami ahmed can be a prospect for the 2015 world cup

  • srikanthan on November 8, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Terrific bowlinh by Shami. It may be premature to make comparisons with Waqar ,but Shami does have a terrfic length, line and reverse swing. Pace may be much slower but good enough to hurry the batsman. Appears to surprise the batsmen. Is faster than the run up and action would suggest. Just look at the dismissals of Samuels , Sammy Bolwed and LBW. Let is just hope he carries this on and not fall by thye wayside like RP Singh and Ishant Sharma. Ishant Sharma was a one serioes wonder that is the earliest one

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    as a Pakistan Fan, it is really good to see a Good Proper Fast bowler from India, i have a feeling that this guy is way better then Irfan, Sreeshant, Ishant and Vinay Kumar, but will take some time to be at the level of Zaheer Khan, the best thing about him is he is bowling with consistent pace, and yes he will get better with time, Please dont let him play any of the premier league, keep him for Test and One day only

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    Fast bowlers require alot of care. I hope he is not spoiled or shall I say destroyed like Irfan pathan who was a fast bowling sensation with his swing when he came to the scene.

  • Srinivas on November 7, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    @Deepfreezed Touche.. To all my colleague Indian fans. Let's reserve our celebrations and see if survives Intl' cricket for atleast 2 years. By the end of it, we'll know.

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    Fine debut, but my concern is the longevity and consistency. We have seen innumerable fast bowlers from India making a promising debut and then vanishing into thin air.

  • Ali on November 7, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Shami needs to avoid being a Zaheer, Sreesanth, and Ishant. How can Shami do this? Simple: No parties, No PR or news stunts, etc. Just focus on bowling, rest, exercise, and read/breathing cricket. Not much. The only way he will avoid being a Zaheer, Sreesanth, and Ishant. Remember: Shami is not in the same league as Jimmy A. from UK, Dale S. from SA, and Mitchell J. from Aus. These guys: focus on their craft and avoid distractions. The reason Indian bowlers are the worst: they are easily distracted and are not serious about work ethic. Example: Harbhajan, Ishant. Enough said.

  • Anthony on November 7, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    Happy to know hitherto unknown capabilities of fast bowler Shami Ahmed. We need to make sure that he is used carefully by not over-using him, giving him adequate rest by rotating bowlers, encourage him to strengthen his body which could add an extra 3 to 4 kmph of pace which would be handy. Also, it seems an injustice has been done to Dinda just on the basis of beating he received in IPL. He is a good upcoming prospect. Need to give him good opportunities. We have great new fast bowlers like Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma, Pankaj Singh, Sandeep Sharma, etc who need to be nurtured & encouraged by creating pacer friendly pitches in the country. BCCI being the richest cricket entity in the world, should use its deep pockets to prepare some bouncy pitches. Otherwise on the current dead pitches, which are grave-yards of pace bowlers, even Shami, Ishant, Bhuvneshwar, Ishwar Pandey all would go the way Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra & Munaf Patel have gone. Worldcup 2015 will be on bouncy pitches.

  • Sharmin on November 6, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    @Arrow011, I agree with you. But if Ashwin or any spinner had taken these 4 wickets, he probably would not have gotten this much attention. India has more spinning tracks than the ones which would help a fast bowler. In one of those kinds of pitches if a fast bowler could get a set batsman's wicket by bending his back, it is a good thing. I hope Shami and BK could continue the same form and stay out of injuries. It was injuries which made all these good pace bowlers like Ishant, Varun, Umesh, Irfan, Zak and the one and only Sreesanth to reduce pace and thus could not repeat what they were good at.

  • cric on November 6, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    So happy to see a young fast bowler arrive to compliment India's batting. India never had a good opening bowling pair. The likes of Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath and Zahir Khan had to toil alone to price out few wickets with the new ball. Hope Shami maintains his fitness and works hard on his game to become a permanent member of the Indian team. Wishing you a long and successful career.