India coach Anil Kumble has high praise for fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who has returned to Test cricket last month after a gap of a year and a half. Shami has troubled the West Indies batsmen with extra bounce, and has eight wickets at 24.62 after two Tests.
Shami had been sidelined for much of 2015 by a knee injury that required surgery and left him in crutches for more than a month. He made his comeback in the Antigua Test last month, and responded by cutting through the West Indies middle order in the first innings. In the next Test at Sabina Park, he struck twice early on the fourth day before the rain arrived and stalled India's hunt for a win.
"I'm really happy for Shami. Coming back after 18 months is not easy," Kumble said. "The way he has come back and bowled aggressively, yesterday I thought he bowled the best spell that I have seen, a fast bowler running in and right through the Test. Even today in the last session he was running and bowling at 140. That says a lot about his fitness and his motivation to come back as well."
After his return to full fitness, Shami was a key member of the Indian Test side, Kumble said. "I think he feels a lot stronger now and his rhythm has been good. The problem was with his knee which was affecting his run up. Once that was sorted and he was fit and came back... fast bowling is all about rhythm and the run up. Once he got the rhythm I think the confidence came back. We've seen from the start of the Antigua Test to now, his confidence is far greater. That's because he has a lot of overs under his belt."
With Shami having played two Tests in two weeks, Kumble noted the need to monitor the workload of a quick bowler on the comeback trail. "He's an important cog for us. We don't want to look too far ahead. The workload is something we are aware of. The last Test in Antigua the bowlers bowled back to back, we try and take workload in training sessions with respect to what happened in the match."