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."