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November 8, 2013
The lead-up to the first Test against West Indies at Eden Gardens had been almost entirely about the impending retirement of the most experienced man in world cricket, but it was India's newest Test players that proved to have the biggest impact. MS Dhoni has lavished praise on debutants, Mohammed Shami and Rohit Sharma, after they played starring roles in India's innings victory that stretched their Test winning streak to an unprecedented five matches.
Shami's performance, in particular, caused plenty of excitement as he consistently bowled around 140kph and got the ball to reverse prodigiously to end up with nine wickets in the match, the fourth-best figures for an Indian quick bowler at home.
"I think it was a disciplined bowling performance," MS Dhoni said after the match. "Shami was fantastic. Most of the fast bowlers got reverse swing, but his line and length was key. He got the right length and that's why I think he got nine wickets in this game."
Dhoni elaborated further on the conditions in what he thought Shami would thrive. "You need a bit of pace to dominate. You can get a bit of reverse swing, and he's got very good seam positioning which means he can reverse the ball away from the right-handed batsmen. So on wickets that have a bit more bounce, I think he will be even more effective with the ball going both ways. We're all very happy with the performance."
While Shami's entry to Tests was something of a surprise, Rohit's debut was considered long overdue. He made the wait count with a gutsy 177 after coming in with India's batting is disarray. "Well, you have to believe in destiny," Dhoni said. "I remember in Nagpur, there was a game he was supposed to play, but during the warm-up he injured his ankle and missed that Test. So I think it's good to see him bat the way he has batted. He is very talented, but now that it is reflecting on the field, he's really enjoying his cricket. Hopefully he'll go ahead and take more responsibility."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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